Journalists and tech experts have been left reeling after the Syrian Electronic Army, a pro-regime cyber warfare group, managed to hack the official Twitter account of the Associated Press.
Hackers loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad infiltrated the media organisation’s Twitter account, posting mock news: “Breaking: Two explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”
The report left many on social networking sites struggling to verify the report, while the DOW Jones Industrial average plummeted by more than 100 points and Standard & Poor’s by 500 reportedly causing losses of around $136.5bn.
Associated Press staff have now claimed computers were flooded with phishing emails less than an hour before the offending tweet.
Mike Baker, Associated Press reporter, tweeted: “The @AP hack came less than an hour after some of us received an impressively disguised phishing email.”
The SEA has been prolific in its web attacks in recent months.
In March, hackers infiltrated the Qatar Foundation’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, posting political satire and comment such as: “Need a new Career? #QatarFoundation will fund your training as a terrorist in #Syria.”
Al Jazeera, BBC Weather and FIFA President Sepp Blatter have all fallen prey to the SEA’s hack attacks.