CSRF vulnerability allows Twitter 'follow' abuse

Summary:Last week, TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid wrote about an obvious Twitter vulnerability that allowed a user called "johng77536" to game the popular micro-blogging service to add thousands of followers (subscribers) in a short period of time.The "johng77536" account has since been disabled but a security researcher tracking Twitter security flaws and weaknesses has discovered a new vulnerability that lets users easily game the "follow" system.

Twitter vulnerability opens door to gaming system
Last week, TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid wrote about an obvious Twitter vulnerability that allowed a user called "johng77536" to game the popular micro-blogging service to add thousands of followers (subscribers) in a short period of time.

The "johng77536" account has since been disabled but a security researcher tracking Twitter security flaws and weaknesses has discovered a new vulnerability that lets users easily game the "follow" system.

Aviv Raff has launched a new Web site called TwitPwn.com with basic details of his discovery:

Twitter suffers from a vulnerability which allows an attacker to force his victim to follow him automatically.

Twitter security team was notified on 31-July-2008.

Technical details will be added as soon as this vulnerability [is] fixed.

Raff showed me a proof-of-concept exploit that took advantage of a CSRF (cross site request forgery) bug to trick me into following his Twitter account by simply clicking on a rigged Web site.   A spammer or phisher could abuse this vulnerability to gain thousands of "followers" and attempt social engineering attacks.

Twitter's security team has promised a fix within 24 hours.

Raff's discovery isn't the first.  He has assisted Twitter with fixing another bug that could be abused to send spam mails with malicious links.  Several Twitter cross-site scripting bugs have also been found and fixed.

Topics: Security, Social Enterprise

About

Ryan Naraine is a journalist and social media enthusiast specializing in Internet and computer security issues. He is currently security evangelist at Kaspersky Lab, an anti-malware company with operations around the globe. He is taking a leadership role in developing the company's online community initiative around secure content managem... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.