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Nasty Twitter Virus Ravages User Profiles

By Nicole Bode | September 21, 2010 12:01pm
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was among the victims of Tuesday's Twitter virus.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was among the victims of Tuesday's Twitter virus.
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By Nicole Bode

DNAinfo Senior Editor

MANHATTAN — Twitter users got a crash course in a sneaky new kind of virus Tuesday morning when a rampant bug swept through the social media website.

According to reports, users on the social media website were susceptible to the Twitter virus just by letting their mouse scroll over the link, giving the virus the chance to open an unauthorized pop-up window and then re-tweet itself through the user’s Twitter account, according to reports.

Among those affected was White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, whose twitter account sent out an unintelligible link early Tuesday, followed by a confused message.

“My Twitter went haywire - absolutely no clue why it sent that message or even what it is...paging the tech guys...,” Gibbs said on his Twitter feed Tuesday morning.

The virus appeared to be limited to spreading through the Twitter.com website, not Twitter applications like TweetDeck, TwitterBerry, or others, according to Mashable.com, which was the first to report the problem.

The so-called “cross site scripting” virus delivered pop-ups on users’ computers or sent users to third party websites including porn websites, according to Forbes.

The quick-spreading bug appeared to strike early Tuesday morning, and Twitter claimed it had patched the problem by 10:00 a.m., Mashable reported. Twitter’s website may have been made vulnerable by the new interface the company rolled out last week, according to reports.

Twitter spokeswoman Carolyn Penner said in an email, "The XSS attack should now be fully patched and is no longer exploitable," the Washington Post reported.