Two bucks and a rudimentary command of the English language is enough for a successful Twitter hack, the likes of which was carried out against Associated Press Tuesday when hackers tweeted the false report that President Obama had been injured in explosions at the White House.
"It is incredibly easy to do, it takes zero technical skill and it has a high success rate," said Ryan Purita, forensic examiner and security specialist with Vancouver's Sherlock Forensics. "For the average Joe, it might be impossible to do, but for the average 14-year-old who lives on the Internet, it's easy."
The bogus tweet, which read: "Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured," resulted in an immediate stock market drop, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 150 points within seconds before recovering almost as quickly.
A tweet from @APMikeBaker suggests the hack may have resulted from a "phishing" expedition: