DETROIT (CBS Detroit) A shocking message appeared on the Associated Press’ Twitter account just after 1 p.m. Tuesday reporting that President Barack Obama was injured following two explosions at the White House.
It was quickly disavowed by the Obama team, leaving only one explanation: The Associated Press Twitter account was hacked.
The account was quickly disabled, with one editor Tweeting: “Please Ignore AP Tweet on explosions, we’ve been hacked.”
The Associated Press is the latest victim in a string of hacker attacks; CBS News was targeted over the weekend.
The DOW Jones Industrial average plunged 100 points in the moments immediately following the fake Tweet.
“The President is fine,” Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney told the media, according to CBS News.
Wayne State Professor Jack Lessenberry said Tuesday’s erroneous tweet by the Associated Press should be a lesson to everyone: that even though social media has become a big part of our society, it cannot always be trusted.
“There’s always a tension in journalism between the two conflicting needs, the need to get it first, and the need to get it right. And sadly, I think too often, commercial media, especially is coming down on the desire to get something first,” he said.
Lessenberry said the media needs to be especially careful with what information they put out, because all they have is their credibility.
WWJ Technology Editor Matt Roush says hacking a Twitter account isn’t always that difficult — for those who have the time and equipment.
“If you have significant computing resources behind you, you can do the kind of thing where you experiment with a lot of different passwords and combinations of user names and passwords,” said Roush. “And if the account in question isn’t set up to recognize that and defend against it you can get it fairly easily.
“Most accounts are set up to defend against that kind of thing these days but, again, not all of them,” he said.
Roush said the best way to protect yourself against hacking is to choose a password that would be difficult to guess, and to change it frequently.