Hacked AP Twitter Account Reports White House Explosion
April 23, 2013

Hacked AP Account Tweets News Of White House Explosion

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

You can't believe everything you read on Twitter — especially when those accounts have been compromised by hackers.

A tweet on the Associated Press' Twitter account on Tuesday reported that there were two explosions in the White House and that President Barack Obama was injured. However, it didn't take long for the reputable news source to point out that its account had been hacked.

"The AP twitter account has been hacked. A tweet about an attack at the White House is false. We will advise on acct. status," said the AP in a statement.

USA Today reported that a White House spokesman assured it that the president was just fine, and that he was busy at work. "The president is fine," spokesman Jay Carney told USA Today. "I was just with him."

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped over 128 points after the false AP tweet, and then resurged immediately after the news agency announced that its account had been compromised.

This is scarcely the first time that hackers have taken to Twitter to prey on high-profile online accounts. Just last week, hackers took over several CBS accounts, tweeting messages containing malware-infected links and statements critical of the US government. The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) claimed responsibility for these hacks, which included the Twitter accounts for CBS´s “60 Minutes” (@60Minutes), “48 Hours” (@48Hours), and a local Denver affiliate (@CBSDenver).

In February, a report was released claiming that 250,000 Twitter users have had their accounts hacked. The microblogging service said it notified the users through an email and asked them to reset their password.

Even Burger King has received its fair share of cyber-harassment. Earlier this year, the fast-food chain's Twitter account was hacked and altered to make it look like it belonged to rival McDonald's. Later, the person or persons behind the attack claimed that the Ronald McDonald franchise had acquired Burger King.

“We just got sold to McDonalds! Looks for McDonalds in a hood near you.” Forty-six minutes later, the well-known hacking collective Anonymous account @YourAnonNews tweeted, “We´re guessing the @BurgerKing social media team is having a bad day“¦”

There have been a string of arrests since the beginning of the year of individuals tied to hacktivist groups like Anonymous and its offshoot LulzSec. In March, authorities arrested a man in Wisconsin for taking down Koch Industries' website during protests in the state's capital in 2011. Another hacker was sentenced to one year in prison last week for his role in attacking Sony's network in June 2011.