BitDefender researchers warn about a new critical exploit affecting microblogging platform Twitter

This particular exploitation case relies on the poor sanitization of the user’s input and offers an attacker a way to “rig” a normal hyperlink with a JavaScript OnMouse event. This type of event does not require the user to click on the tweeted link; instead it is triggered when the user hovers the mouse cursor over the specially crafted link.

As of the moment of writing, Twitter was flooded by more than 2,000 messages experimenting with the flaw, ranging from “innocent” JavaScript alerts to sophisticated XSS attacks trying to steal cookies from the victims’ browsers.

Search results displaying the malicious Twitter posts

Twitter has removed most of the tweets containing the vulnerability, but they are still cached in search engines.

Although Twitter have been notified and fixed the bug, one of the malicious links has been used to force each of its viewers to retweet a message that promised an alleged guide against the zero-day vulnerability.

Tweet leading to malicious pages

This appears to be the original Tweet that has been retweeted by some victims

However, users that have accessed the link have been redirected to a website asking them to fill in surveys in order to allow access to the “guide”.

Numerous tweets leading to surveys

About the author


Bogdan Botezatu is living his second childhood at Bitdefender as senior e-threat analyst. When he is not documenting sophisticated strains of malware or writing removal tools, he teaches extreme sports such as surfing the web without protection or rodeo with wild Trojan horses. He believes that most things in life can be beat with strong heuristics and that antimalware research is like working for a secret agency: you need to stay focused at all times, but you get all the glory when you catch the bad guys.