A 17-Year Old Caused Yesterday's Twitter Mess

Illustration for article titled A 17-Year Old Caused Yesterday's Twitter Mess

An 17-year old Australian is taking responsibility for unwittingly causing yesterday's Twitter bug. While the teen didn't directly bring the flood of spam and porn retweets, he burst open the dam. I guess that passes for precociousness these days?


The trouble began when the Melbourne-based high school student decide to test the security flaw that created the havoc by tweeting some onMouseOver Javascript code. The vulnerability had first been brought to Twitter's attention a month ago</a? by the Japanese developer who first discovered it.

But when this high school student tested it out for himself, more unsavory elements—specifically, his followers, according to Netcraft— quickly identified it as a means to a prank:

"After that, it seems like some of my followers realised the power of this vulnerability, and within a matter of minutes scripts had taken over my timeline," [the teen] said.

Which ultimately led to a worm that greeted visitors to Twitter.com with this:

Illustration for article titled A 17-Year Old Caused Yesterday&#39;s Twitter Mess

You can't really blame the kid for his idle curiosity; if anything it forced Twitter to patch a vulnerability before something truly malicious took advantage of it. Let's hope we're so lucky next time. [Netcraft via AFP]



So wait, what is the point of twitter again? It's just a smaller blog, right?