Phishing attacks may have enabled hackers to hijack the Twitter account of the Associated Press to post a message Tuesday that there had been explosions at the White House and that President Obama was injured.
The bogus tweet, delivered shortly after 1 p.m. EST, sent the Dow Jones plummeting about 150 points before quickly recovering. Minutes after the message was posted, the Associated Press recanted it and then news service's account, which has nearly two million followers, was suspended.
Members of the "Syrian Electronic Army" took credit, according to a tweet. The group, believed to be made up of supporters of the repressive regime of Syrian President Bashir Assad, has been on a quite a hacker spree lately, with recent Twitter account takeovers affecting NPR and CBS' "60 Minutes."
It's unclear how the AP's Twitter account was compromised, but staffers reported receiving phishing emails just prior to the compromise. The AP, in a story it wrote on the incident, also confirmed this.
Security experts said the incident may stretch beyond Twitter.
"The fact that the Twitter account was hacked, likely through exploitation of internal machines, indicates that it isn't just the Twitter account that was exposed," Rick Westmoreland, a security analyst at SilverSky, a cloud security provider, said in prepared comments. "Any other internal accounts that have been accessed on that machine are likely compromised as well."