Hackers who attacked the website of a prominent Canadian newspaper early on Tuesday posted a false news item saying the Premier of the province of Quebec had died.
According to a report by the Reuters news agency, the newspaper whose website was attacked was the Quebec-based Le Devoir newspaper.
The fake item regarding the supposed death of Premier Jean Charest of a heart attack remained on the newspaper’s site for more than an hour and was repeated by Twitter users before engineers were able to delete it.
“We offer our most sincere apologies to the premier. Measures are being taken to find the person responsible for this crime,” the newspaper said on its website.
The newspaper has filed a complaint with police, which launched an investigation conducted by the information technology crime unit of the Montreal police.
Charest himself later joked about his fake death when addressing media in Quebec City.
The Montreal Gazette quoted Charest as having said he was home exercising when he heard the news in the morning.
“I immediately rushed to a mirror to see if I was still there,” he said, laughing. He added that he was impressed by Le Devoir’s quick reaction and said no media outlet is immune from cyber piracy.