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US Navy claims it was 'hacked' after someone streams Age of Empires on USS Kidd's Facebook page

USS Kidd
(Image credit: US Navy (Facebook))

There was a spot of bother aboard the USS Kidd earlier this week when someone began doing lengthy Age of Empires livestreams on the US Navy destroyer's Facebook page. A Navy rep told military news site Task and Purpose that the page had been "hacked," but it was eventually revealed that this wasn't exactly the case.

"The official Facebook page for USS Kidd (DDG 100) was hacked," Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman told the site. "We are currently working with Facebook technical support to resolve the issue."

The first stream started during the evening of October 3, triumphantly captioned, "Hahahahaha." The second followed in the wee hours of October 4, under the more inscrutable header, "play game." Others followed, with comparably mundane captions like "hi everyone," "hi guys," and the most relatable of the lot, "ffffffffffff."

The Navy eventually regained control of the account and deleted all the rogue videos, and the Kidd's Facebook page is now the predictable dull collection of ship and crew photos, videos, and deployment updates you'd expect. Fortunately, images of the great naval security breakdown were captured for posterity:

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Age of Empires streaming stills from USS Kidd

(Image credit: US Navy (via Facebook))
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Age of Empires streaming stills from USS Kidd

(Image credit: US Navy (via Facebook))
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Age of Empires streaming stills from USS Kidd

(Image credit: US Navy (via Facebook))
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Age of Empires streaming stills from USS Kidd

(Image credit: US Navy (via Facebook))
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Age of Empires streaming stills from USS Kidd

(Image credit: US Navy (via Facebook))
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Age of Empires streaming stills from USS Kidd

(Image credit: US Navy (via Facebook))

The incident was silly and funny, but it also sparked legitimate concerns about the broader implications of the apparent security breach, which seemed especially pointed in the wake of the massive Twitch hack that also took place earlier this week. How was the streamer able to take over an official Navy Facebook page? Was Navy security potentially under threat more generally? Why did it take so long to pull the plug?

Those questions were answered a few days after the security breach was first reported. Task and Purpose had noted in its original report that "hacked" is often used in cases where someone forgets to log out of the company account before heading home for the night, and—surprise!—that's basically what happened here. The Navy issued an update yesterday saying that the whole thing was actually just a social media manager who forgot to switch from the Kidd's account to their personal one before getting their AoE on.

But perhaps someone just said the magic word.

USS Kidd/Age of Empires

(Image credit: US Navy/Microsoft)
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.