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Associated Press Twitter Hack

The Associated Press Twitter was hacked last night in what is thought to be as a result of an attack using Phishing tactics. The international news source is widely recognised as an independent, trustworthy supplier of up to date, accurate news stories.

The Twitter account for the Associated Press was hacked last night and posted a tweet at 13:00 EST claiming that explosions had been heard at The White House and that president Barrack Obama was injured. 2 million followers twitter accounts were fed the shocking tweet and concerns were raised amongst many regarding the health of both the president and the state. Markets dropped significantly, the Dow Jones experienced a drop of 150 shortly after the tweet. The tweet was soon rectified and followers put at ease.

The phishing attack behind the attack is thought to have been performed by the Syrian Electronic Army. Early reports suggest that a legitimate looking email was received by a number of Associated Press employees shortly before the hack took hold, suggesting the link contained in the email had malicious intentions lying behind it. The email is believed to have read,

“Sent: Tue 4/23/2013 12:12 PM
From: [[email protected]]
Subject: News

Hello,

Please read the following article, it’s very important :

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/04/23/

[XXXX XXXXXXX]
Associated Press
San Diego
mobile [XXXXXXXXXXX]”

The email differed from many standard phishing attacks. This one appeared legitimate due to the content which was more than applicable to the industry and the sender was named as an associated press employee. These clues all suggest the associated press was the intended target and this wasn’t simply the result of a random attack.

What this attack also highlights is the necessity for a two factor authentication service within Twitter, especially amongst high profile organisations.

The FBI are currently investigating.

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