CSRF vulnerability allows Twitter 'follow' abuse

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.

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Twitter vulnerability opens door to gaming systemLast 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

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  • So?

    Another worm, anyone? These types of social-networking sites all suffer from the same kind of problems. They allow lots of interfaces (thereby exposing themselves to many attack vectors) and we wonder why it happens?

    There are surely more than this out there, for Twitter, and other social networking sites... it's a matter of exploitation.
    Rafal.Los (RX8volution)