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Hacked AP Twitter feed purporting White House explosions implodes financial markets

Credential-stealing malware; Spear-phishing; User accounts compromised

Syrian Regime supporters allegedly lured an Associated Press employee(s) into divulging AP’s Twitter account password.

“‘The @AP hack came less than an hour after some of us received an impressively disguised phishing email,’ reporter Mike Baker wrote in a separate Twitter dispatch. The spoofed email apparently contained a convincing message, according to media blogger Jim Romenesko. In recent days security personnel with the news cooperative discovered malware had infected some of its computers, officials told the New York Times.”

The @AP intruders tweeted: “"Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured."

A week after two explosions devastated the Boston Marathon, the report of more blasts sent stock markets plummeting for a few minutes.

"The @AP Twitter account has been suspended after it was hacked," an unaffected Twitter account belonging to the news organization stated. "The tweet about an attack on the White House was false."

A pro-Bashar al-Assad group known as the Syrian Electronic Army took credit for the breach.

“Whoever initiated the sell-off—and potentially well-positioned traders who immediately recognized the report was false—had the ability to make huge profits by capitalizing on the false news, according to this analysis from Quartz. 


Financial Services; Government (U.S.); Social Media


April 23, 2013

reported by

Ars Technica

number affected


location of breach




location of perpetrators


date breach occurred

April 2013

date breach detected

April 2013

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