DENVER - We witnessed another sign on Tuesday of how the social media age can impact the world even for those who aren't logged in.
The FBI is investigating a hacker attack on the Associated Press's Twitter account.
A group called the Syrian Electronic Army says it got into the account and sent out a bogus Tweet under the AP's name saying there had been two explosions at the White House and the president was injured.
The 140 character message spiraled over the web and forced the stock market to drop by 143 points within minutes, costing $136-billion.
"It had a direct impact on the White House and the markets," said Social Media Privacy Expert John Sileo.
Sileo says what happened on Tuesday is huge.
"It changes the direction of the stock exchange, of oil prices, of gold. That to me is a massively significant," Sileo said.
Within a few minutes time, the fake alert was re-tweeted more than 4,000 times, spreading panic across the internet. The words in the tweet were read by a high-frequency trading stock market processor, following algorithms, which automatically hit sell button after sell button within a microsecond of reading the nerve-wracking tweets.
"One of the issues is high frequency trading. These are algorithms that go out and trade based on headlines. And when you trade based on headlines, the minute it starts taking a dive, or going up, it follows that pattern. And these automatic stock trades are made," Sileo said.
The AP's password was likely snagged through a Phishing scam that anyone of us can fall for. Sileo says it's important for people to change their password at least once a month.
"That means they need to be long - 13 characters or longer - strong, alpha numeric, upper case, lower case," Sileo said.
For more information on how to prepare for cyber attacks, head to www.sileo.com