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AP Twitter account hack: Syrian Electronic Army takes credit for Twitter attack

AP Twitter account hack: Syrian Electronic Army takes credit for Twitter attack, The AP Twitter account hack with the tweet “Breaking: Two Explosions at the White House and Barack Obama is injured" caused the Dow Jones to plummet more than 150 points and the White House to issue a statement that no explosions had occurred and that the president was fine. “Within a few minutes, Twitter suspended the account, and Julie Pace, the chief White House correspondent for The A.P., announced at a White House briefing that the account had been hacked,” reported The New York Times on April 23, 2013.

Following the announcement by the White House, editors at the Associated Press also issued a statement saying that the AP Twitter account had been hacked and that the tweet about the White House attack had been false.

While the Dow Jones immediately recouped its losses and the public was ensured of the president’s well-being, the brief AP Twitter account hack demonstrated once again how vulnerable Twitter is to outside hackers.

“Through a Twitter account, a group called the Syrian Electronic Army took credit for the attack.”

This is not the first successful Twitter account hack by the Syrian Electronic Army and unless Twitter comes up with a new strategy, it will not be its last.

“Twitter has tried to take an active role in ridding malicious content from its platform. It has manual and automatic controls in place to identify malicious content and fake accounts, and last year the company sued those responsible for five of the most-used spamming tools on the site.”

However, none of the above strategies applied by Twitter appear to be effective against the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA). As soon as one of their Twitter accounts is deleted, SEA simply establishes a new one. Accessing a company’s Twitter account is as easy as accessing any Twitter account. All it takes to post a false Twitter message under a company’s name is the company’s user name and a password. A process that is more of an art than a science, reported The New York Times.

According to a Quartz report about the Syrian Electronic Army,

“The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) has been on a tear lately, taking over Twitter accounts owned by CBS and Sepp Blatter. Twitter has responded by banning one ‘official’ SEA twitter account after another, but the SEA just keeps putting up new ones on which to trumpet its exploits. They’re pretty easy to find, too—as soon as Twitter bans one, the SEA starts a new one and increments the number at the end of them. We’re now up to number six: @official_SEA6.”

The goal of the Syrian Electronic Army is to cause havoc and to spread its pro-Assad propaganda. While today’s AP Twitter account hack only resulted in a temporary uproar on Wall Street and the White House, SEA accomplished its mission -- vandalizing and compromising websites and electronic accounts like Twitter and Facebook.

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