'Syrian hackers' break into Associated Press' Twitter account and 'break news' that explosions at White House have injured Obama - sending DOW Jones plunging 100 points

  • Both the DOW Jones Industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index plunged about 1 percent before regaining their losses
  • $136.5 billion of the S&P 500 index's value was momentarily wiped clean
  • Tweet was sent to AP's near 2 million followers and retweeted 1,181 times before deleted
  • White House press secretary: 'The president is fine'
  • Group called the Syrian Electronic Army has claimed responsibility for hacking

A group of Syrian hackers have claimed responsibility for tweeting a false report by the Associated Press of explosions at the White House which plunged the DOW Jones Industrial average more than 100 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 to lose $136.5 billion.

'Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured,' the news agency Tweeted just after 1pm on Tuesday causing panic to some of their near 2 million followers.

The White House and AP assured the public minutes later that the report was not true but word didn't appear to come fast enough to those frantically watching and responding on Wall Street.

Experts say the massive stock crash shows that financial organisations rely too heavily on trading algorithms - and warn the same system could cause 'unpredictable consequences' in the future after analysing this tweet

Plunge: Immediately after the false Twitter report the DOW Jones Industrial average plunged 100 points before going back up again following reassurances from both the AP and the White House

In a graph capturing traders' apparent panic, the DOW Jones Industrial average took a straight dive plunging from about 14,700 to around 14,570 before gradually shooting back up in a three-minute roller coaster.

The S&P 500 Index also fell about 1 percent, wiping out $136.5 billion before gradually recovering their loses, according to Reuters data.

Amid the hysteria the volume of trading on the New York Stock Exchange blew up to an intra-day high of 3.06 million.

The alarming message by the AP appeared retweeted at least 1,181 times before its deletion.

Both the DOW Jones and the S&P regained their previous levels following word of the news agency's hacking minutes later.

An editor with the AP wrote: 'Please ignore AP tweet on explosions, we've been hacked.'

'The President is fine, I was just with him,' White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also told the media.

Billions gone: Similarly seen the S&P; 500 dropped about 1 percent wiping out $136.5 billion before almost as quickly recovering from their losses amid the scare

All safe: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also told the media on Tuesday that the President is fine

A group called the Syrian Electronic Army, one that's supportive of Syrian leader, Bashar Al-Assad, has since claimed responsibility for AP's hacking while specifically celebrating on their Facebook wall the impact made on stock prices.

The group has also claimed it was behind past hacks of Twitter accounts for National Public Radio, BBC and CBS's 60 Minutes program, among others.

'No human believed the story. Only the computers react to something that serious disseminated in such a way.'

- Wall Street trading director blaming automatic electronic trading

The AP has since temporarily suspended their main Twitter account as well as their mobile Twitter account, both of which they say were hacked.

The attack was preceded by a phishing attempt on their corporate network, the news agency said.

At the time of their Tweet they had a reported following of 1,905,403.

Some traders blamed automatic electronic trading for the sharp fall and recovery and not human reaction to the report.

'No human believed the story. Only the computers react to something that serious disseminated in such a way. I bought some stock well and did not sell into it. Humans win,' Rick Fier, director of equity trading at Conifer Securities LLC in New York, overseeing $8 billion in assets, told Bloomberg.

Jonathan Corpina said he was standing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when he got word of the alleged explosions and called a client two blocks from the White House to confirm.

'He did not know what I was talking about,' Corpina, who's a senior managing partner with Meridian Equity Partners Inc. told Bloomberg Radio. 'He said I’m staring at the White House and there’s nothing going on here right now.'

Hackers: A group claiming responsibility for the hacking posted this apparent screen grab taken from their computer showing their infiltration

He also partially blamed algorithmic trading programs that react to certain headlines.

'It puts into perspective our increasing dependence on technology and communications,' said Bill Baruch, senior market strategist at iiTRADER.com remarking on Twitter's impact on the stock market.

'As we put more and more trust in technology for our communications, it brings us back to reality in the sense that these communications are easily misconstrued, easily hacked, so not only can people put out false information, but they can capitalize on it,' he said.

The AP is the latest media organization to come under siege from hackers in a spate of high profile incidents over the past several months.

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal said their systems were hacked, prompting the White House and lawmakers to push through legislation that will help better defend against cyber attacks.

Reuters News said in August one of its Twitter accounts was hacked and false tweets were posted, mainly related to the armed struggle in Syria.

The bogus report of explosions in the heart of Washington, D.C. comes eight days after the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 200 others.

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