FBI Investigating AP Twitter Feed Hack

Melissa Stusinski

The FBI is investigating Tuesday's AP Twitter feed hack, which caused panic for a brief moment when the news agency's account announced that there were explosions at the White House and President Barack Obama was injured.

The hack was reportedly carried out by the Syrian Electronic Army, a group that has loose ties with the Syrian government.

The FBI is investigating how hackers were able to get into the Associated Press's Twitter account and send the bogus tweet. While FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer confirmed the investigation was going on, she did not provide any further details.

The AP Twitter feed hack is the latest high-profile act of sabotage on Twitter. AP spokesman Paul Colford quickly announced that the tweet was bogus.

But in the short time Americans and others believed the president was injured, almost every US market took a plunge. One trader described the situation as "pure chaos."

Along with the FBI, the US Securities and Exchange Commission are also looking into the fake tweet and how it impacted the US markets. SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher explained, "I can't tell you exactly what the facts are at this point or what we are looking for, but for sure we want to understand major swings like that, however short it was."

After learning the AP's Twitter feed was hacked, trading returned to normal and the US markets returned to the levels they were at before. But in that short time, the fake tweet wipe out $136.5 billion of the S&P 500 index's value. The sharp fall and bounce-back were attributed by some traders as coming from automatic electronic trading.

The group that claimed responsibility for the AP Twitter feed hack, the Syrian Electronic Army, is supportive of the country's leader, President Bashar al-Assad. The group has also claimed responsibility for previous hacks, including the Twitter accounts of National Public Radio, BBC, CBS's 60 Minutes program, and Reuters News.

The AP's Twitter accounts have been suspended and the agency has announced it will review its Twitter security before they are reinstated.