Saturday, September 25, 2010

Twitter Hacked, Australian Boy Claims Responsibility - - 22 Sep 2010

Twitter was hacked Tuesday, when users input a mischievous code in 140 characters or less causing problems for millions of users, including the White House.

Twitter users are safe however, as no personal information was compromised by what Twitter’s security team dubbed the “mouseover bug”, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Mouseover” refers to when users move their cursors over a link.

The problem was caused by “cross-site scripting”, a JavaScript that runs programs on its victims' computers. Some users found the colour of their tweets had changed, while others experienced pop-ups for third party websites when they moused over an infected link.

One version of the virus worked by causing users’ computers to re-tweet micro-messages thousands of times.

A 17-year-old Australian boy has claimed responsibility for unintentionally starting the hacking storm which began at 2:30 a.m. California time and lasted about four hours.

Pearce Delphin, whose Twitter username is @zzap, said he posted the original piece of JavaScript code which created pop-ups. More hackers than took up the idea, tweaked the code and the rest is history.

“I did it merely to see if it could be done ... that JavaScript really could be executed within a tweet," Delphin told the AFP.

“At the time of posting the tweet, I had no idea it was going to take off how it did. I just hadn’t even considered it," he said.

United States White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and Sarah Brown, the wife of Britain’s former prime minister, were among the millions hit by the worm.

By Caden Pearson

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