Hacked French broadcaster's passwords revealed in TV broadcast

Login credentials for the hacked station's social media accounts were apparently broadcast on national TV news

Screenshot of a French TV broadcast showing TV5Monde login credentials in the background

Screenshot of a French TV broadcast showing TV5Monde login credentials in the background

The hacked French-language TV network TV5Monde might have made it easier for hackers to compromise its systems and social media accounts. One of its employees was interviewed about the hack on TV -- in front of a wall of posters that appeared to contain usernames and passwords for the channel's social media accounts.

TV5Monde was hit by a crippling cyberattack on Wednesday when Islamist hackers managed to disrupt broadcasting across its channels and hijacked the station's website and social media accounts.

In the wake of the attack the offices of TV5Monde were visited by reporters of another French TV station, which broadcast an interview with one of TV5Monde's reporters, David Delos. Behind Delos in the shot however, several printouts stuck to a wall appear to reveal the usernames and passwords for social media accounts including Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

While the quality of the archived broadcast is too grainy to determine what the passwords are, they could have been better readable on a high-definition television. One eagle-eyed Twitter user deciphered TV5Monde's YouTube channel password as "lemotdepassedeyoutube", meaning "thepasswordforyoutube" in French.

It is still unknown how the hackers infiltrated the broadcaster's systems, but the footage shows the cyberattack could have been a lot less sophisticated many have assumed: Any visitor to the offices could have seen the passwords.

It is certainly not the first time passwords were accidentally shown in TV. In 2014, for instance, CBS aired a report on Super Bowl security, including a shot taken at the Super Bowl security headquarters showing login information for a Wi-Fi network.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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