An alarming rumor circulated through Twitter today that the White House had been bombed and that President Obama had been injured. The source? The Associated Press, a reputable news organization whose Twitter account was hacked.
At 1:07 p.m. ET, the @AP account tweeted the following message: “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”
The Associated Press has since released the following statement:
Hackers have compromised the main Twitter account of The Associated Press, sending out an erroneous tweet about an attack at the White House. The tweet, which said that there had been two explosions at the White House and President Barack Obama was injured, came after hackers made repeated attempts to steal the passwords of AP journalists. The AP said Tuesday that its Twitter account had been suspended following a hack and said it was working to correct the issue. The cyberattack is the latest in a string targeting international media organizations. The tweet put out by hackers briefly sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average sharply lower.
The company added:
In addition to the main AP Twitter account (@AP) being hacked, AP’s mobile Twitter account has also been hacked. Please do not respond to news posted by @AP_Mobile. The account will be suspended as soon as possible.
The Associated Press has been using multiple outlets to warn the public, including Facebook.
“The Associated Press Twitter account (@AP) has been hacked. Please do not respond to news posted there in the last 20 minutes,” the company said on Facebook.
AP also tweeted at 1:18 p.m. ET from the Associated Press Stylebook account, @APStylebook, “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.”
Associated Press reporter Mike Baker added from his @MikeBakerAP account that “The @ap hack came less than an hour after some of us received an impressively disguised phishing email.”