Article from CNN courtesy of “The Rundown”
If Twitter needed any more evidence that it has a serious security problem, this should do it: Stocks plunged sharply on Tuesday after a hacker accessed a newswire’s account and tweeted about a false White House emergency.
The shocking tweet came from the Associated Press earlier this afternoon: “Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”
The AP’s communications team quickly tweeted from its own account that the main AP Twitter was compromised, but investors had already panicked. The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) immediately plunged by more than 140 points. And there it is: After years of hacks that typically involved little more than obscene language, Twitter’s subpar security measures have now caused serious real-world consequences. Many hacks happen when account owners use guessable passwords or access Twitter over public Wi-Fi and shared computers. If one person who tweets from a corporate account loses his or her phone, an entire corporation’s Twitter account could be at risk.
The AP incident appears to be an example of social engineering. The news service posted a story Tuesday afternoon explaining that attackers gained access to the account after launching phishing attempts. When phishing, attackers pose as legitimate companies, such as Twitter, in an attempt for account holders to give up their passwords.
While Twitter can’t control those issues, critics say the company could do more to prevent them.