UPI and New York Post Get Their Twitters Hacked; USS George Washington Not Under Chinese Attack

Don’t worry… The USS George Washington is safe and WWIII hasn’t started. The twitter accounts of the New York Post and UPI have been hacked in a coordinated attack. Both news sites’ twitters sent out tweets claiming that there had just been a “Chinese anti-ship missile fired at USS George Washington.” The New York Post quickly deleted its erroneous tweet, but UPI’s twitter account still seems to be in the clutches of malicious actors. The US Navy has since confirmed that the USS George Washington isn’t even in the South China Sea and most certainly isn’t under attack.

Given the limited reach of UPI and New York Post, this particular false news incident did not have as large of an affect as the brief stock market flash crash caused by a false news headline tweeted out by the Associated Press in 2014. In a similar hack last year, the Associated Press’s twitter account was hacked to say that the White House had been hit by two explosions and that President Obama was injured. The tweet was almost immediately removed by AP staff, and the White House was able to put out statements that the President was perfectly safe; however, the stock market still experienced a flash crash of 143 points.

Since then, Twitter has implemented a 2-factor-authentication (2fa) option that it is clear many companies are still not using. Password security is at an all-time premium, yet it seems that companies are still unable to create and store secure passwords. The advent of 2fa and the wide availability of devices that make 2fa easy to use should have been adopted by companies first and consumers second; however, it becomes abundantly clear with each of these incidents that some of our most trusted companies are actually grossly behind the times.

Also read: Could Turkey’s Twitter Ban Push Citizens to Namecoin?

UPI Twitter Posts about USS George Washington

upi hacked

UPI hackers started by posting about the anti-ship missile and quickly escalated to posting “quotes” from leaders around the world. The first quote from the supposed “US Joint Chief of staff” paints the picture that the United States and China are now engaged in active combat on the tumultuous and politically-charged South China Sea (It would be much more realistic to claim that China is in active combat with some other East Asian country over the Spratly Islands). To top off the epic dose of trolling, UPI hackers also posted a picture of the Pope with the caption, “World War III has begun.”

Needless to say, World War III has not begun in earnest. The intentions of the hackers may have been to create another stock market flash crash; however, they failed in that respect as well.

Images from Twitter and Shutterstock.

Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.