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Britney Spears victim of Twitter hack, death hoax, Sony Music says

Britney Spears, above at the MTV VMAs in

Britney Spears, above at the MTV VMAs in Manhattan in August 2016, has since tweeted photos of herself very much alive after a death hoax claimed the pop star was dead on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016. Credit: AFP / Getty Images / ANGELA WEISS

Her latest album may be “Femme Fatale,” but Britney Spears has suffered no fatality: The tweets Monday morning announcing the singer’s death were fake.

The first two messages were posted early Monday on Sony Music Global’s hacked Twitter page. Timestamped 5:13 and 5:20 a.m. Eastern Time, the first read, “RIP @britneyspears,” followed by a tearful emoji. On another two lines were: “#RIPBritney 1981-2016.” The second tweet, seven minutes later, contained three lines reading, “britney spears is dead by accident! we will tell you more soon #RIPbritney,” with the same tearful emoji on the hashtag’s line.

Thirty minutes after the second tweet, two more appeared. The first was headed, “--------OurMine Security--------” and followed by the statement: “We detected unusual activity on the account and we checked the account if it’s hacked or not.” The next read, “we saw a new IP logged in to the account a few minutes ago and the tweet is posted by a new IP so @britneyspears is still alive #OurMine.”

OurMine on its official website calls itself “an elite hacker group known for many hacks showing vulnerabilities in major systems,” and appears to be offering its services for sale: “As professional hackers and vulnerability assessors,” the site reads, “we will help you secure your network, show you all available vulnerabilities, and fix them all! We are experienced in many fields of hacking and can crack anything from a network to a social media account.”

It then adds, “We have no bad intentions and only care about the security and privacy of your accounts and network. Not only will we give you access to all your accounts again, we will give you future security tips and assist you with securing your account to its [sic] maximum potential.”

At some point, the Twitter account of recent Nobel Prize-winning music legend Bob Dylan also was hacked, with a tweet reading, “Rest in peace @britneyspears” and the tearful emoji. A follow-up later said, “OurMine checked Britney Spears twitter account if it’s hacked or not and they detected that it’s hacked! @britneyspears is still alive!!”

OurMine did not respond to Newsday’s contact-page request for comment.

By 9 a.m. the hacked tweets were removed by Sony, which manages both accounts, said Billboard. “Sony Music Entertainment’s Twitter account was compromised,” the company told Billboard and sister magazine The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. “This has been rectified. Sony Music apologizes to Britney Spears and her fans for any confusion.”

Spears, 35, posted four close-up photos on social media Monday afternoon. In three she mimes holding a gun “Charlie’s Angels”-style “Don’t underestimate the power of Charlie’s [angel emoji],” she wrote.

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