A 17-year-old boy from Australia has admitted he inadvertently caused the massive hacker attack on Twitter yesterday that sent millions of users to a Japanese porn site and knocked down the White House press secretary’s Twitter feed.
Melbourne student Pearce Delphin, whose Twitter name is @zzap, has admitted exposing the security flaw which was then pounced upon by thousands of users and caused havoc for five hours.
The exploit tries to redirect users to other websites or automatically reports the tweets simply if the user hovers over the affected tweet.
The tweets involved were in large letters, making it difficult to avoid hovering over them.
“There is obviously the potential for cyber criminals to redirect users to third-party websites containing malicious code, or for spam advertising pop-ups to be displayed,” said Graham Cluley.
Among those affected include Sarah Brown, the wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. She then warned users to avoid the affected tweet.
By yesterday evening Twitter said it had fully patched the XSS exploit.
Delphin was one of the first people in Australia to start using Twitter and said the site had known about the vulnerability for months.