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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Twitter Hack Started With `Rainbow Tweets,' High School Student Says

A person in Australia, who claims to be the center of an incident that impaired service on Twitter Inc.’s website for thousands of users, said he had no malicious intent when he disclosed a security weakness to others. A Twitter user identifying himself as Pearce Delphin, a 17- year-old high school student in Melbourne, said in an e-mail interview that he saw the potential for trouble in the short messages of another user in Japan.

As a test, Delphin said he created messages containing the Javascript command “onmousover,” which displayed the words “uh oh” when a mouse was dragged over it. Hackers, who saw his demonstration model on Sept. 21, tweaked the code to direct people to pornography websites and to create malicious software, or “worms,” that copied themselves into the message stream of anyone mousing over them. He said he didn’t write malicious code himself.

Twitter said in the blog post that the security flaw was identified and repaired about a month before the incident. It resurfaced following a software update, the company said.

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