UPDATE, 11:21 AM: NBC‘s sites are back to normal and all traces of the hacking from earlier today seem to have disappeared. There has been no statement from the network about the hacking or a potential security breach of user passwords.
PREVIOUSLY, 10:14 AM: NBC’s website was hacked this morning by someone going by the name “pyknic.” A spokesperson for NBC told Deadline the network was checking into what had happened. Initially, it looked like only Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno’s portals were affected, but the damage appears to have spread to other parts of the site including the main NBC page and directory of shows. (The image at left is a screen grab from earlier this morning of Saturday Night Live‘s page.) Whoever wrote “hacked by pyknic” on the NBC sites seems to want to celebrate the rebellious UK November 5 occasion of Guy Fawkes Night. A scrolling line of text on one of the pages refers to the night over 400 years ago that Fawkes was arrested with explosives in a plot to blow up Britain’s upper Parliamentary chamber. “Remember The Fifth of November, The Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.” Plus the terms “User Info – Exposed”, “Passwords – Dumped” are on the page too, indicating a further security breach.
The Fawkes case has been a hallmark of the Anonymous hacker movement. The group has attacked sites run by the MPAA, the RIAA, GM, the Pentagon as well as the Church of Scientology and various UK government agencies. Fawkes was also the basis for the Alan Moore graphic novel V For Vendetta and the 2005 movie adaptation produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowskis. The grinning Guy Fawkes mask, used in the movie, is also a trademark of the Occupy protest movement.