“Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured,” the fake tweet read. It was retweeted 4,000 times before it was corrected by AP’s other verified account, which notified the public of the hack.
“The (at)AP twitter account has been hacked. A tweet about an attack at the White House is false. We will advise on acct. status,” read a post on @APStylebook.
But the tweet sent US markets reeling, with Reuters reporting it briefly wiped out US$136.5 billion of the Standard & Poor 500 index's value, though the markets subsequently recovered.
AP reports the hack came minutes after a disguised phishing email was sent to its employees, which is thought to have been the access route to the Twitter account. An AP reporter tweeted:
The @ap hack came less than an hour after some of us received an impressively disguised phishing email.
— Mike Baker (@MikeBakerAP) April
The White House through press secretary Jay Carney in a regularly scheduled press conference clarified the president was fine.
A group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army has claimed responsibility, as it has done for similar hacks on various news sites in the US, including CBS, over the weekend.
Ops! @ap get owned by Syrian Electronic Army! #SEA href="https://twitter.com/search/%23Syria">#Syria https://twitter.com/search/%23ByeByeObama">#ByeByeObama http://t.co/HTKoO6gIL6" title="http://twitter.com/Official_SEA6/status/326746641451327488/photo/1">twitter.com/Officia _SEA6/…
— SyrianElectronicArmy (@Official_SEA6) https://twitter.com/Official_SEA6/status/326746641451327488">April 23, 2013