Media blackout spawns rogue Twitter accounts

Posted at 4:06 PM, Jan 26, 2017

There is a growing resistance to media blackouts imposed on federal agencies this week as the Trump administration takes over.

Rogue Twitter accounts such as @AltUSNatParkSer have popped up over the last few days and started tweeting climate change data.

That Alt US National Park Service account already has more than 1 million followers.

The account was originally launched allegedly by National Park Service employees who were upset about the blackout they and other agencies have been put under and the removal of climate change data from federal websites.

That account claims it has since been handed over to supporters outside the agency.

There are also duplicate accounts popping up and it's also unclear who runs some of them.

Cyber security experts warn those sympathetic to the employees cause could lower their guard and click on links from accounts acting as a rogue agency, but in reality be someone trying to spread computer viruses.

"If I want to send you 'climate change data' and I tell you to go download a PDF, imagine the thousands of people who have clicked that link and downloaded a document like that," said cyber security expert and certified ethical hacker Charles Tendell. "Now malicious viruses, spyware, malware, ransomware have been spread through things like this."

Some of the social media blackouts were said to only be temporary, but having them in place at all is enough to spook a lot of people inside the science community.

The Associated Press reports a former member of the Trump transition team says the president could seek major budget and staff cuts inside the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA is one of the agencies under a media blackout.

EPA reports may also face review by Trump administration staff before being released to the public.

Tendell is host of The Charles Tendell Show podcast.