Hackers seize AP Twitter feed, send bogus message about White House attack

The Associated Press's Twitter account was hacked Tuesday. PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER
The Associated Press’s Twitter account was hacked Tuesday. PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER

A phony news report sent shock waves throughout social media, and eventually the stock market Tuesday when a hacker got a hold of the Associated Press’s Twitter account.

A little after 1 p.m., a false tweet sent out by the Associated Press’s twitter handle, “@AP,” reported there were two explosions in the White House, and that President Barack Obama was injured.

The Associated Press’s account was quickly suspended, and a spokesman called the tweet “bogus.” The AP has nearly 2 million Twitter followers.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that the president was fine.

According to Reuters, a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army, which is supportive of that country’s leader, Bashar Al-Assad, on Tuesday claimed responsibility on its own Twitter feed for the AP hack.

The group has also claimed it was behind past hacks of Twitter accounts for National Public Radio, BBC and CBS’s “60 Minutes” program, among others.

The fraudulent tweet sent the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging sharply before they recovered. Stock and bond futures also were affected, according to Reuters.

The AP said the tweet came after hackers made repeated attempts to steal the passwords of AP journalists.

A glimpse at the momentary financial frenzy:

In what one trader described as “pure chaos,” the three-minute plunge triggered by the tweet briefly wiped out $136.5 billion of the S&P 500 index’s value, according to Reuters data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average temporarily dropped 143.5 points, or 0.98 percent.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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