The Associated Press’ Twitter account was hacked reportedly by hackers working for or on behalf of the Syrian government who sent out a disruptive tweet using the account. The tweet, which claimed there were explosions in the White House and that President Obama was injured, sent financial markets plunging.

Hackers compromised Twitter accounts of The Associated Press on Tuesday, sending out a false tweet about an attack at the White House.

The false tweet said there had been two explosions at the White House and that President Barack Obama was injured. The attack on AP’s Twitter account and the AP Mobile Twitter account was preceded by phishing attempts on AP’s corporate network.

The tweet occurred just after 1 pm and sent the Dow briefly down 143 points before it recovered.

The Syrian Electronic Army took credit for the attack.


Their Twitter account has now been suspended.

The Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the hack. This couldn’t be corroborated.

The FBI has opened an investigation into the incident, spokeswoman Jenny Shearer said. She declined to elaborate.

The SEA has taken credit for a string of Web attacks on media targets it sees as sympathetic to Syria’s rebels. Among the targets the group claims to have hacked are Twitter feeds of Al-Jazeera English and the BBC

The purpose of the crime is still unclear. To disrupt financial markets? Intimidate President Obama? Nonetheless the hack and resulting panic is sure to fuel the debate over cyber warfare.