Friday afternoon saw the Twitter accounts of both the New York Post and United Press International (UPI) hacked and announcing that China had fired a missile on a U.S. ship, along with the Pope declaring the incident the start of World War III. The compromised accounts of the two news agencies posted tweets about a Federal Reserve emergency meeting and other banking matters. Fortunately the agencies quickly realized their social network accounts had gone awry, and took back control.
As of now, all the fake tweets from @NYPost and @UPI have been deleted, but followers of those accounts who reading at around 1pm eastern on Friday saw an announcement that Chinese forces had launched a missile and struck the USS George Washington, which had then fired back. Another tweet, claiming to be quoting the Pope, said “World War III has begun,” along with a photo of Pope Francis appearing to read a statement from the Vatican.
These announcements were quickly recognized as fakes, as at the time the Chinese were supposedly firing a missile, the USS George Washington was listed on the Navy’s website as being in Yokohama, Japan. And the Pope is currently not at the Vatican, but visiting the Philippines.
Shortly before this, the official Twitter and YouTube social accounts for the U.S. Pentagon were compromised by hackers claiming to be part of the militant group ISIS. Due to the tweets about the Federal Reserve, some believe this hacking had no link to ISIS, but rather was an attempt to game financial markets.