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AP Twitter Hacking Proves the Power of Social Media, Raises Questions About Social Media Security

If you've ever doubted the power of social media, perhaps yesterday's hacking of the Associated Press' Twitter account will change your mind. A screen shot of the initial tweet is below:

The associated press was quick to issue a follow-up tweet to set the record straight. Again, it can be seen below:

Despite the correction, one cannot overlook what transpired in the aftermath of the initial 'news': the Dow swiftly dropped more than 150 points, while prices of crude oil fell. The yield on the US government bond, 10 year Treasury note, also dropped as traders and finance execs began shifting money in to low-risk investments.

Luckily, the turmoil lasted for approximately five minutes, during which the (real) AP released the following statement:

"The @AP Twitter account has been hacked. The tweet about an attack at the White House is false. We will advise more as soon as possible."

Luckily, the markets recovered, and all appears to be back to normal... Well... uh... sort of.

Lather. Rinse... Repeat?!

By 8:30a (ET) this morning, the tweet that started it all was back. Trust me, the look on my face was probably identical to the one you're wearing right now... A short time later, the AP's social media editor, Eric Carvin, tweeted the following:



A short time later...


High Profile Hackings Becoming Increasingly Common

Here's the thing: the hacking of high profile social media accounts is becoming increasingly common. (See McDonald's and Burger King for two recent examples...) What makes the hacking of the Associated Press particularly terrifying is instant result following the aftermath.

While technology experiences constant, not to mention rapid, growth, the fact of the matter is, it's become a go-to news source for many. For those users who are generally tweeting jokes, socializing with friends, and using Twitter as originally intended, hacking is a problem, but generally speaking, it's not going to cause a financial meltdown. When we add finance, news corporations, and other influential accounts that can ultimately shift markets, we have a serious problem.

A Non-Negotiable Priority

Bottom line: these organizations need stronger internal (and external) security measures. This isn't a wish list item, it is a hard fact. In addition to protection via two-factor authentication, it is quickly becoming apparent that businesses need to educate their staffers on the dangers of opening and/or clicking the links contained in various phishing e-mails, which, according to the AP, is what started this whole mess.

Although the @AP feed has been cleaned up, it would be naive to say it couldn't happen again. That's why security, both in e-mail and on social media, is imperative. Cliché as it sounds, education is key... and given potential crisis this could have caused, we can't afford ignore it.

Let's Chat

Comments? A different perspective? Tweet us at @lunawebs, or drop us a comment to join the discussion on the jacking of the @AP account.


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