Easter Delivers Bad Egg to Twitter

Worm targets network over weekend

Monday, Apr 13, 2009  |  Updated 2:00 PM PDT
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Easter Delivers Bad Egg to Twitter

Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams probably never thought of many of the ways his service could be used -- and misused.

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A nettlesome computer program that tormented Twitter over the weekend is another reminder of the challenges facing the rapidly growing online communications service.

The mischievous program, known as a "worm," targeted Twitter's network with four different attacks starting early Saturday and ending early Monday, according to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

The worm was a potentially malicious program designed to automatically reproduce itself once it's clicked on.

But Stone says it didn't filch any personal information from the millions of people with Twitter accounts.

In Stone's post on the Twitter blog, he assured the more than 6 million users of the network that, "no passwords, phone numbers, or other sensitive information was compromised as part of these attacks."

Stone compared the attack to the one that hit MySpace some time ago as the Samy worm. That incident resulted in a felony charge and probation time for the attacker. He was also banned from the Internet.

Despite assurances that the worm is gone, security experts say the attacks continued Monday.

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Mikko Hypponen, chief researcher at F-Secure, wrote in a blog that, "Twitter administrators don't seem to be able to shut down the various XSS / CSRF worms that have been plaguing the service over the weekend."

In the latest entries to the Twitter blog, Stone again reassures users that the worm is gone.

"Late Sunday night and into the wee hours of Monday we fought off a fourth attack." The blog reads. "Once again, we secured the compromised accounts and deleted any material that would further propagate the worm."

The best way for users to avoid the worm is to avoid clicking on any links or messages that use the word Mikeyy or StalkDaily. PCWorld has a few other tips to help avoid the pesky thing or clean it off your computer.

A 17-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y. claimed responsibility for the attacks,InformationWeek reported, citing BNOnews.

The teen was bored and needed to find a new way to make money, according to the online report.

Maybe some time alone without the Internet will give this kid something constructive -- not destructive -- to do.
 

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