Here’s a tip: if you’re thinking about starting up a social media platform like TweetDeck, then you might want to make sure that teens won’t be able to find loop holes to expose your product to hackers and other assorted mischief makers.
According to a recent report from Mashable, an Australian teen admits that he accidentally exposed a flaw in TweetDeck. The 19-year-old, who’s otherwise known as Firo XI on Twitter, said that he found a vulnerability in the system, which then caused the social-media dashboard to shut down while the company worked on the bug.
For those who aren’t familiar with TweetDeck, it is a very popular desktop app for those who use Twitter. Instead of logging onto the site via your web browser, you can have all of your tweets, your Twitter feed and other various Twitter happenings all streamlined in beautiful columns. It’s nice on the eyes and comes in handy when you don’t want to log on.
However, all of that went under when Firo XI sent out a heart symbol in a tweet, which was loaded with one long string of code. According to CNN, this is the Tweet that exposed the vulnerability in TweetDeck and acted as the ultimate hijacking.
So, here’s how it worked; the line of code acted like a bug or a worm and made different TweetDeck accounts share the heart symbol message, which meant that it became a symbol that was tweeted out by a great many TweetDeck users without their knowledge or consent.
Citing privacy concerns, the Australian teen said that he figured out the string of code to make a heart by following a simple coding language; in other words, some pretty powerful HTML.
After the incident had become public knowledge, CNN conducted an impromptu interview via Twitter with the teen. He revealed his intentions were good and it was just an experiment in code that led to him exposing the TweetDeck vulnerability.
According to the site, Firo said that his discovery “wasn’t a hack. It was some sort of accident.” So, he decided to try it a few times, which consisted of the teen adding a heart symbol to every message until he received a pop-up on his dashboard. Then he shared the news with everyone, “Vulnerability discovered in TweetDeck. o /”
Although Firo was a good samaritan and let Twitter know about the threat, actual hackers quickly realized what Firo had done, which resulted in a mass hacking of TweetDeck.
Although it affected many TweetDeck users, it’s said that no actual damage was done and Twitter has since fixed the problem.
[Image via Bing]