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A mission of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is "to conserve and enhance Arkansas's fish and wildlife."

Only recently the commission's Facebook page got a little too wild.

Keith Stephens, chief of communications, says that earlier this month, the agency noticed some fishy postings: "Evidently somebody was able to hack into [the account] and actually post as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. ... They were able to get in somehow and make it appear somebody here from the agency was posting."

As for what the hacker posted, he says, "We saw there were posts that were popping up that started out very innocent, like 'How to Draw a 3D Object.' ... We thought maybe someone within the agency had just stuck something up there inadvertently."

But soon, he says, "It got a little bit more elevated ... a little bit risque," adding there were photos of "celebrities in various ... states. Not total nudity or anything like that, but just various angles of celebrities and things like that."

In other words, the mystery Game and Fish posts were somewhat lure-id. Page activity had gone from bait to clickbait.

So that it wouldn't be open season on the Facebook page, Stephens says for several days, "We were staying up in shifts all night trying to catch it, just make sure as soon as one popped up, that we would delete it immediately."

The commission informed Facebook followers, "we felt it was prudent to remove the lewd posts that have appeared on our page due to a compromised Facebook account." The announcement drew both cheers and wisecracks like, "You guys can't figure out how to implement a successful points system for permit draws. No chance you'll figure this deal out!!!"

Luckily, Stephens says, the hacker stuck with "adolescent humor," adding, "It wasn't anything that would affect our ability to get the message out. ... It wasn't like somebody putting up there that 'Deer season is 12 months a year.' ... That was our real concern -- that somebody could have posted it as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

"The damage that they could have done to our brand and our agency could have been catastrophic."

After the work of tech folks and Facebook, Stephens says the situation appears under control: "Cross our fingers, we haven't seen anything yet."

For now, Game and Fish is off the hook.

Email: jchristman@arkansasonline.com

SundayMonday on 12/16/2018

Print Headline: PAPER TRAILS: Arkansas Game & Fish Commission in hacker's cross hairs

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