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Perimeter

Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
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4/18/2009
12:41 AM
Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
Security Insights
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Latest Twitter Worm Taunts Celebs With Huge Followings

Another weekend, another attack on Twitter users. On the same day word surfaced that 17-year-old Mikeyy Mooney had been offered a job on the back of the Twitter worms he had written, a new version of his Twitter worm was unleashed.

Another weekend, another attack on Twitter users. On the same day word surfaced that 17-year-old Mikeyy Mooney had been offered a job on the back of the Twitter worms he had written, a new version of his Twitter worm was unleashed.Interestingly, the worm is referencing the account identities of various celebrities, including Ashton Kutcher (who has more than 1 million followers) and chat show queen Oprah Winfrey.

It's possible the worm is an attempt to entrap celebrities with a significant online following. Can you imagine the impact an attack could have if it managed to ensnare a Twitter user with more than 1 million followers?

Although Twitter's security team assures it has now taken steps to ensure its systems can not be exploited this way again, it would take a brave man who would put money on Twitter's being untroubled by security issues in the future.

Malicious messages on Twitter

Messages posted by the worm include:

    @oprah - sup? welcome to twitter. - mikeyy @TheEllenShow - hey baby, love me long time? - mikeyy @nytimes - yep, it's true. - mikeyy @StephenColbert - you funny. - mikeyy @aplusk - hey, homo. - mikeyy @souljaboytellem - your music sucks dude. - mikeyy I work for exqSoft Solutions now - http://www.exqsoft.com/ - mikeyy Twitter, you should be paying me now. - mikeyy Twitter, do you know about the before_save model callback? - mikeyy Twitter, BeforeSave: ForEach: DataArray: EscapeHtmlChars!!! - mikeyy This exploit only affects Internet Explorer users. Thanks. - mikeyy

Twitter really needs to get the situation under control -- not just for this worm, but for the (seemingly) inevitable follow-up. I recommend that Twitter users exercise extreme caution when visiting other users' profiles: Ensure your browser is up to date with patches. Furthermore, it would be wise to take more control when scripting is run inside your Web browser. For instance, the Firefox NoScript plug-in can help you defend against cross-site scripting attacks.

If you suspect you have been affected, then clean out your Twitter profile and the settings of any content you did not add yourself. Also, though it may not be the case that it has been compromised, consider using a more secure password.

Graham Cluley is senior technology consultant at Sophos, and has been working in the computer security field since the early 1990s. When he's not updating his other blog on the Sophos Website, then you can find him on Twitter at @gcluley. Special to Dark Reading.

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