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A little after 1:00 PM ET, some unimaginative hacker grabbed ahold of AP's Twitter account and posted this piece of obvious nonsense about a bombing at the White House:

AP Twitter hacked
I say obvious in part because the White House is probably the most heavily covered building in the entire world and nobody else was reporting that it had been attacked. Moreover, even if there had been an attack, there's no way the president's status would have been known in the initial tweet.

Sure, when we conducted the operation against Osama bin Laden in the middle of Pakistan during the dead of night it wasn't surprising that just one guy was live tweeting the goings on. But if something as awful as the AP hack-tweet happened at the White House, it wouldn't be exclusive news. Everybody would know.

It's also true that AP usually capitalizes BREAKING in its tweets and probably would not have used the president's first name, but really the fact that Twitter hacks aren't all that unusual and that nobody else was reporting it was all the evidence one needed to know it was a hack. In fact, as strange as it sounds, a tweet saying the president had disappeared to Argentina where he was cavorting with an internet pen pal would have been vastly more credible.

Nonetheless, the stock market got wind of this fake news and took a brief dip of around three-quarters of a percentage point:

Yahoo S&P index April 23, 2013
The chart makes it look like a bigger crash and recovery than it was, but still, for the market to move nearly a full percentage point on some random schmuck's hack attack is pretty crazy, especially when it should have been obvious what was going on.

That all being said, things recovered—and as you'll see below the fold, we got at least a few pretty good jokes out of it.

Here's three of my favorites:

AP finally scooped the NY Post.
@AndyCobb via web
Reddit has identified seven people as the White House bombers
@WaltHickey via TweetDeck
A hacker causing a big fluctuation in the Dow Jones means hackers will soon be eligible for the electric chair.
@Wolfrum via web
By the way, it appears as though the source of the AP hack may have been a well-designed phishing attack, which basically means the hackers exploited the fact that people are human and make mistakes. That's a lesson worth remembering, especially for the Ayn Rand types who think designing systems predicted on their definition of rational behavior is the way to solve every problem known to mankind.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.


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