The Syrian Electronic Army has claimed responsibility for hacking the main Twitter account of the Associated Press and posting false news that Obama had been injured in a White House explosion, a member of the hacking group announced on Tuesday.
The group member, named Mohammed, claimed he was one of the hackers involved
during a video interview with China Central Television on Tuesday in Damascus.
He said the hacking was not supported by any political power, but rather, it served to resist the western media's "deceptive" coverage of Syria's oppositions.
"Our action was a protest against the western media's coverage of Syria's oppositions. Their deceptive reports have hurt Syria and the Syrian people," he said.
AP's Twitter account was frozen several minutes after it was hacked, but the incident still managed to cause a sharp drop in the U.S. stock market, which however quickly rebounded after the AP dispelled the rumor.
Set up by a group of Syrian government supporters, The Syrian Electronic Army has expressed their dissatisfaction with the stances of various countries and organizations on Syria issues by hacking world famous websites. The group has previously hacked the official websites of Al Jazeera and Harvard University.
On Tuesday, the hackers tweeted "Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured" at 12:07 via the AP's official Twitter account AP, which instantly received more than 3,000 retweets and drew wide attention from local media and Twitter users.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 150 points minutes after the false alert, then quickly bounced back to normal after traders learned that the White House was not attacked.
At 13:12, AP released an official statement via another Twitter account AP-Politics, saying "The AP Twitter account has been hacked. The tweet about an attack at the White House is false. We will advise more as soon as possible."
Jay Carney, Obama's press secretary, told the press that the president was unharmed.
Later, the AP confirmed that another Twitter account of the news organization, AP-Mobile, was also hacked and will be suspended soon.
The incident marked the third high-profile Twitter hack incident in the U.S. in recent months. In February, Burger King and Jeep both saw their official Twitter accounts hacked.
Currently, Twitter offers the same login procedures to both individual customers and companies. One only needs the correct username and password to get into a Twitter account. Most other big-name online services, such as Google and Facebook, utilize "two-step verifications" through which more protection is available.
Posted: April 23, 2013
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.