AP Twitter account hacked, White House says Obama is `fine` - KMSP-TV

AP Twitter account hacked, White House says Obama is `fine`

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Hackers compromised the Associated Press Twitter account on Tuesday. The account was almost immediately suspended, but not before more than 4,500 accounts re-tweeted a fake alert about an attack on the White House.

The tweet sent at 1:07 p.m. (EST) read:

"Breaking: Two explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured"

The attack on AP's Twitter account and AP Mobile Twitter account was preceded by a phishing attempt on AP's corporate network.

AP sent out a message over their wire service five minutes after the account was suspended, saying that the Twitter account had been hacked and that the White House tweet was false. The news service said it would advise about the status of the account as soon as possible.

AP spokesman Paul Colford said the news cooperative is working with Twitter to investigate the issue. The AP has disabled its other Twitter accounts following the attack, Colford added. At no time was the AP news wire compromised.

White House Press Secretary responded to the false Twitter report at the beginning of Tuesday's midday press briefing, saying that he was just with Mr. Obama, and that the president was fine.

The cyberattack is the latest in a string targeting international media organizations.

A Syrian group linked to the outlaw regime of President Assad said it hacked the @AP twitter account of the Associated Press.  That remains to be confirmed, but as brief as it was, the "flash crash" put billions of investors' dollars at risk.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly went sharply lower after the fake tweet was posted. The Dow fell about 143 points, from 14,697 to 14,554, after the fake Twitter posting, and then quickly recovered.

"It's incredibly scary. It serves to undermine our entire economy," says University of Illinois Law School professor Daliah Saper. "If the stock market can't depend on the news, how then can we make trades?"

Other markets also reacted to the fake posting.

The price of crude oil fell, then rose back. The yield on the benchmark U.S. government bond, the 10-year Treasury note, briefly dropped as traders shifted money into low-risk investments.

The turmoil lasted for about five minutes. By about 1:13 p.m., stocks, bonds and crude oil were all trading about where they were before the fake tweet was posted.

A Securities and Exchange Commission spokeswoman declined comment on the incident.

Among the day's shocks: the Syrian electronic army's mocking claim about the password protecting the vastly influential associated press twitter account: apm@rketing, with an ampersand in place of one "a."  It was so obvious it seemed to violate every rule of digital security.

Neither the White House's nor Barack Obama's Twitter accounts posted about the false tweet within the following hour. But hundreds of thousands of other accounts did comment on the situation and share the correct information.

A representative for Twitter did not immediately return messages for comment.

Security officials say the AP hack shows anyone who's connected to social media is at risk of being hacked.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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