Feeds

Dutch script kiddie pwns 20,000 Twitter profiles

How much do you have in common with the other lusers?

The essential guide to IT transformation

A Dutch teenager successfully hijacked 20,000 Twitter profiles to post a message dissing their owners for being slack with security.

Damien Reijnaers (@DamiaanR), 16, also induced his victims into tipping their hat to him for helping them to point out the error of their ways in the same update. He pulled off the trick by getting victims to sign up to a supposed profile comparison tool for daters called Pas jij bij mij? (Do you match with me?) ... Users who linked his app to their Twitter accounts were asked to grant the application permission to post updates.

The small print (as shown in Twitter's illustration of Twitpic's permissions screen) isn't even that small...

This ability was explained in the not-so-small print Twitter requires when users authorise a third-party application - something the victims apparently failed to heed, according to Dutch media reports. RTL Nieuws adds that Reijnaers previously uncovered a Facebook security flaw three years ago, aged only 13.

The update (example here), posted on Thursday morning, said:

Hoe slecht gaan mensen met hun twitter account om... groetjes, Damiaan Reijnaers. ‪@NUnl‬ ‪@telegraaf‬ ‪@tweakers‬ ‪@nos‬ ‪@geen_stijl‬ ‪@volkskrant‬

This translates to "How badly people manage their Twitter accounts... Regards, Damien Reijnaers."

A quick search reveals that several hundred Twitter profiles, at least, were induced to make the update.

The prank does illustrate a wider privacy problem in both social media and mobile apps. Many request permissions they don't strictly need to perform their core functionality and these permissions can be abused, threatening user privacy in the process.

This is a difficult problem to solve because users simply don't have the time to pore through the often verbose, complicated terms and conditions or term of use statements attached to applications. Simple summaries in plain English (or Dutch) may help, but many users are likely to ignore even these. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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
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

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?