21 Sep 2016   |   News

Leading science news service compromised by cyberattack

Hack leaves EurekAlert! with almost a fortnight of disruption

Parts of the US science news service EurekAlert!, which provides journalists with preview copies of scientific journals and press releases, remain inaccessible following a cyber-attack earlier this month.

The site was infiltrated on 9 September, in what has been described as an “aggressive attack”. While the public pages of the site were restored earlier this week, the restricted access pages remain offline.

The breach came to light after a journalist at the German publication Die Welt was offered two leaked embargoed papers.

In response, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which runs the site, shut down the service, but not before users’ usernames and passwords were compromised. When it re-launches, subscribers will be asked to create new log-in credentials.

It is not clear what the motive is, but the hacker revelled in their achievement via a series of tweets. “The hacker at one point had an anonymous Twitter account (@eurekek) which has since been suspended by Twitter,” said Ginger Pinholster, chief communications officer at the AAAS. “The individual made a disparaging remark about US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and said that he or she does not care about the whole embargo debate among journalists.”

EurekAlert! is a key channel for communicating the results of scientific research, providing a single point of access to press releases and papers from hundreds of institutions to 12,000 accredited journalists.