Earlier this afternoon, hackers compromised the Twitter account of the Associated Press (AP) sending out an erroneous tweet about an attack at the White House.
"Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured," the tweet said.
It was quickly revealed that the information was false and was, in fact, a result of the AP's Twitter account being hacked. Though the AP account was quickly suspended, the dramatic tweet was retweeted over 4,800 times within minutes sending panic to the stock market. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged dramatically by more than 140 points, exemplifying just how much impact a single tweet can have.
Today's hacking follows an earlier occurrence over the weekend, where CBS News confirmed that its "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours" Twitter accounts were compromised. Hackers used these accounts to express frustration with Obama’s treatment of Syria.
The recent Twitter incidents have caused serious concern about the social media platform’s security measures and its impact on real-world consequences. Security pundits have urged Twitter for years to enhance its security measures but today, this urgency has become more apparent than ever.
"There has never been a greater need for increased security measures around Twitter as there is today," says Jason Stein, president and founder of social media agency, Laundry Service.
According to critics, Twitter desperately needs two functions in order to provide a securer platform. These include a two-factor authentication login that requires both a password and a piece of data; and an editorial capability that allows account holders to post corrections to tweets that contain false information.
Though Twitter began posting job listings earlier this year for engineers to work on a two-factor authentication, developments on this move are yet to be seen.
"Until [Twitter's] security measures have been implemented, it is critical for companies to use platforms such as Nexgate, which would prevent hackers from being able to publish tweets and Facebook posts after accessing an account. I can't see why any brand, publisher, or business would use social media without taking the necessary precautions such as a platform like this, given all of the recent hackings," says Stein.
As uncertainty around Twitter's security progression continues to draw questions, one thing for sure is something needs to be done sooner rather than later.
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March 19, 2014