Twitter wrestles with fourth worm attack

Hints that it will take legal action against hackers

Another worm attack early Monday on Twitter kept the micro-blogging Web service chasing down infected accounts and deleting rogue tweets.

"Late Sunday night and into the wee hours of Monday we fought off a fourth attack," said Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, in an update to a blog post he originally published Sunday. "Once again, we secured the compromised accounts and deleted any material that would further propagate the worm."

The newest attack -- which followed a pair of worms Saturday and a third Sunday -- originated from a just-registered account labeled "cleaningUpMikey," said F-Secure Corp.'s chief research officer, Mikko Hypponen. Today's copycat worm infected account profiles of people who clicked on the sender's name or image in tweets like, "How TO remove new Mikeyy worm! RT!! http://bit.ly/yCL1S."

"A message like this is particularly nasty, as there were plenty of re-tweets of this malicious message sent by genuine users," Hypponen said in a blog posting just minutes after Monday's attack began. "The bit.ly link got redirected back to Twitter, to user reberbrerber's profile & which would infect Twitter users who viewed it."

Twitter has since deleted the cleaningUpMikey account and the tweets it and other infected accounts spawned.

Also on Monday, Twitter again emphasized that while the worm attacks have been a nuisance, they haven't stolen any user account information. "No passwords, phone numbers, or other sensitive information were compromised as part of this renewed attack," the service's status page said early this morning.

Twitter has not responded to questions posed Sunday about the attacks, specifically whether it had, or would, contact law enforcement officials. According to some reports, and his own Web site, teenager Michael "Mikeyy" Mooney took responsibility for the worms that circulated on Twitter over the weekend.

In his updated blog today, Stone hinted that the company would take legal action against the worms' creators. "The worm introduced to Twitter this weekend was similar to the famous Samy worm, which spread across the popular MySpace social-networking site a while back," Stone wrote. "At that time, MySpace filed a lawsuit against the virus creator, which resulted in a felony charge and sentencing. Twitter takes security very seriously and we will be following up on all fronts."

In 2005, Samy Kamkar exploited a bug in MySpace to add as a "friend" anyone who viewed his account profile, then copied a snippet of JavaScript to that user's profile to continue the hack. Within 24 hours, he had accumulated over a million friends.

MySpace sued, and in January 2007, Kamkar pleaded guilty to a single felony count. He was sentenced to three years probation and 90 days community service.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitytwittermalware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?