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Twitter riddled with worms and scams (again)

Who will stop the madness?

Multiple new versions of the Mikeyy cross-site scripting worm spread across the Twitter micro-blogging network over the weekend.

The first in the latest batch of worms berated Twitter for poor security. Mikeyy Mooney, the VXer who got a job in security days after creating the first Twitter XSS worm over the Easter holiday weekend, has confessed to creating this worm too.

A second worm, which began spreading on Friday, referenced Twitter users with a large number of followers (such as @oprah, Oprah Winfrey, and @aplus, Ashton Kutcher) and came from compromised accounts that also referenced the increasingly annoying Mikeyy.

On Saturday (18 April) two more Mikeyy-type worms appeared, this time in the guise of Tweets from compromised accounts, featuring philosophical musings and the word "womp". The second worm of the day screwed with infected profiles, changing the title of the profile to "Mikey and the Mysterious Treqz", as explained in a blog posting by F-Secure here.

Twitter, not before time, suspended Mikeyy Mooney's profile over the weekend, and this might be be the 17 year-old's reaction, although this has not been confirmed.

Security researchers, who criticise Twitter for its apparent inability to de-worm its site, advise users to turn off scripting (or use Firefox extension NoScript) when viewing users' profiles in order to avoid getting caught out by the malware.

"Once again, Twitter is left looking amateurish in its response as it clearly hasn't properly hardened its systems from these kind of cross-site scripting attacks," writes Graham Cluley, senior security consultant at anti-virus firm Sophos.

Monday brought yet more security problems for Twitter with the spread of messages promoting TheSmartEcard.com, a site linked to online scams. Twitter itself describes the issue as a "scam/phishing" problem unrelated to malware. It adds that the messages were sent via compromised accounts, which it is in the process of suspending. ®

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