Feeds

Twitter flaw creates micro-blogging mayhem

Onmouseover-turned

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A cross-site scripting flaw on Twitter's website creates a means for posting code into updates, causing chaos across the network today.

The vulnerability allow messages to pop-up and third-party websites to open providing surfers move their cursor over a link, earning the flaw the nickname of onMouseOver. Thousands of Twitter accounts posted messages exploiting the flaw, mostly for fun and games, at least for now. Some users have begun exploiting the loophole to create tweets that contain blocks of colour (known as "rainbow tweets").

However the security weakness is just as easily exploited to redirect surfers to third-party websites containing malicious code, or to display spam advertising pop-ups.

Messages are also spreading virally that take advantage of the vulnerability for nefarious purposes. Victims include Sarah Brown, wife of the former British Prime Minister, whose Twitter profile has been messed around with to redirect surfers to a hard core porn site located in Japan, as explained in a blog post by Sophos here.

The flaw does not affect third-party Twitter clients but poses a serious risk on the Twitter.com website.

If you see a redacted (blacked out) tweet avoid clicking or moving your mouse over it, since these types of messages have been linked to the majority of exploits seen thus far.

"This is a very simple exploit but could have very damaging effects," said Jason Hart, senior European VP of CryptoCard. He warned that the bug might easily lend itself to phishing attacks.

Other researchers agreed with this assessment, arguing that Twitter ought to bring down the shutters on its website while it develops a fix.

Christopher Boyd, senior threat researcher at GFI Software, commented: "While there's a possibility that bad actors may use this to direct end-users to malware and phish pages, I'd like to think Twitter will have this under control before that happens. However, we are surprised that Twitter has not suspended the main twitter.com web site while it works on a fix."

Twitter said its was in the process of fixing the flaw. "We've identified and are patching a XSS attack; as always, please message @safety if you have info regarding such an exploit," it said, via the official @safety Twitter profile. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.