America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an inquiry into how hackers took control of the Associated Press Twitter account and managed to send shockwaves through financial markets.
A false tweet on the account also reported that two explosions at the White House left President Barack Obama injured.
In a video released on the net, a man from a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army, which supports President al-Assad, said the action was a protest against the western media’s coverage of Syria’s opposition.
Although the White House took only three minutes to issue a denial, virtually all US markets dropped on the false news in what one trader described as “pure chaos.”
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has promised an in-depth probe. SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher said: “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.”
The group has also claimed it was behind similar attacks on other websites, many of which are now reviewing their security.