Twitter Got Hacked – The Explanation

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twitter-got-hacked Twitter was hacked today when a new security flaw was discovered which exploited thousands of Twitter accounts and caused users to be redirected to third party websites.

The security flaw only required users to hover over an offending link, no clickthrough was necessary. The flaw used a JavaScript function called onMouseOver which creates an event when the mouse is passed over text.

A hacker named ‘Matsta’ was found to be the one who originally initiated the hack.  The hack spread throughout twitter as users would only have to hover over a black box of text at which point the black box of text would then automatically retweet on your account.

Below is a snapshot of how the hack appeared in users timelines:

blackbox

Real viruses evolve, and this Twitter hack was no different, the code changed as the hours passed and the epidemic spread – albeit with the help of people modifying the hack vs simple mutation. New variants appeared, exploring ways to increase the virulence of the code, making it more disruptive and contagious.

Twitter was finally able to correct the situation at around 11:45 EST today. Twitter Got Hacked is now a trending topic on Twitter.

Interesting note about worms: The self-replicating code of the Twitter hack is known as a worm, but in biological terms it behaved just like a virus.

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