The Associated Press on Tuesday tweeted the following “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” After AP confirmed the account had been compromise, Twitter suspended it just minutes later.
Here is the original tweet:
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Attempting to navigate to the AP’s account or tweet currently gives an “Account suspended” message. Twitter will likely bring it back soon but for now the message displayed is as follows:
Multiple other AP accounts have confirmed that the original tweet is false and that the account was compromised:
That is a bogus @ap tweet.
— AP CorpComm (@AP_CorpComm) April 23, 2013
Please Ignore AP Tweet on explosions, we’ve been hacked.
— Sam Hananel (@SamHananelAP) April 23, 2013
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.
— AP Stylebook (@APStylebook) April 23, 2013
Notice the timing of all these events. The original tweet went out at 1:07 PM EST. Official denials came in at 1:10 PM EST and Twitter suspended the account by 1:14PM EST, giving a total turnaround time of just seven minutes.
Yet this was enough time for the Dow Jones to drop like a rock (before quickly rebounding once it was confirmed that the tweet was false):
The Associated Press has since published its own story confirming the news. The report says the false tweet was made “after hackers made repeated attempts to steal the passwords of AP journalists.”
The @ap hack came less than an hour after some of us received an impressively disguised phishing email.
— Mike Baker (@MikeBakerAP) April 23, 2013
This is the latest development in a long saga of Twitter account hijackings. The company has been asked for years to implement two-factor authentication to help thwart such attacks, but it still hasn’t done so despite saying it would one day.
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