Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Hoax tweet of White House blast sends markets into a tailspin

Hackers targeted the main Twitter account of The Associated Press news agency sending out a fake tweet about an attack at the White House
Hackers targeted the main Twitter account of The Associated Press news agency sending out a fake tweet about an attack at the White House

Shortly after 1pm yesterday, the Twitter feed for the Associated Press reported some shocking news: two explosions at The White House, and President Barack Obama injured.

The news was promptly denied by Obama’s team, and disavowed by an AP editor, who took to Twitter to advise readers that the story was false, and that the agency’s Twitter feed had been hacked.

The reversal did not come quickly enough for the markets, however. In the moments between the fake tweet and its denial the Dow Jones industrial average dived 100 points.

It recovered almost as quickly as White House press secretary Jay Carney assured reporters: “The President is fine.”

AP said it would suspend its Twitter account and the agency’s Mike Baker said, in a tweet, “the hack came less than an hour after some of us received an impressively disguised phishing email.”

But AP is only the latest victim. CBS news Twitter accounts were hijacked last week by the Syrian Electronic Army, a pro-Assad group. And on 4 July, 2011, an imposter tweeted from Fox News, announcing that Obama had been assassinated.

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