The Associated Press's Twitter feed was hacked Tuesday afternoon, during which the newswire's main account sent out a troubling, but false, "breaking" story to their nearly two million followers:
The AP's official account was quickly suspended by Twitter, presumably to let the company regain control. AP Entertainment, still in the right hands, tweeted out a warning about the hack:
The official @ap account has been hacked! No explosions at the White House, Barack Obama not injured.& AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) April 23, 2013
But apparently not before the tweet caused a dramatic drop in the market, as Barron's reported. The market rebounded after it became clear that the "news" was actually a hack. But as Matt Yglesias argues in Moneybox, that dramatic effect could bode well for some opportunists:
"It makes you wonder if there isn't a profit-making opportunity out there in the realm of Twitter hacks. The Internet seems to spread both the rumor and the correction very quickly, and U.S. financial markets are deep and liquid enough to respond in a big way in real time."
The AP's Mike Baker tweeted out more information on the hack, noting that at least one other AP account had been taken over. From what the AP is saying, it looks like the hack was actually the result of a phishing scheme that was emailed to some AP employees just before the accounts were compromised:
More hacked tweets from a different AP account. These ones reference Syria: twitter.com/MikeBakerAP/st…& Mike Baker (@MikeBakerAP) April 23, 2013
The @ap hack came less than an hour after some of us received an impressively disguised phishing email.& Mike Baker (@MikeBakerAP) April 23, 2013
This post has been updated with new information.