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May 23, 2013

Twitter introduces website security tool after AP account hacked

(Continued)

SAN FRANCISCO —

The AP restored its Twitter account after a security review. The false information from the AP account, which also said President Barack Obama had been injured, came after repeated attempts by hackers to gain access to AP reporters' passwords, the news agency said.

In February, the Twitter account for Jeep was taken over. About that same time, the account for Burger King also was compromised. While those breaches were quickly remedied without any significant loss of sales, businesses can come under greater scrutiny after financial regulators approved the use of social media to release market-sensitive information.

That followed an investigation into Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings. He had posted monthly viewership results on his Facebook page, rather than in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing or news release. Tesla Motors Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk also fueled the debate in March, when he sent Twitter postings that moved the electric-car company's shares.

The SEC changed its guidance for companies distributing information April 2, allowing them to use social-media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to distribute announcements that can move markets.

"For a long period of time, banks were the main target, where hackers would embed a phishing link inside an email," Meftah said. "Social sites are the new attack surface for these guys. If you can phish against Twitter, phish against Facebook — the number of consumers that are going to be affected by it is massive."

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