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Twitter.com hacked, third party software safe

A major security flaw in Twitter.com’s ‘onmouseover’ function has been exploited today, sending the microblogging site nuts. 

When users move their cursors over the URL in their home feed, it automatically re-posts it from their own profile, preventing them from seeing content on their page and making everything just go a bit weird.

Graham Cluely has written a more detailed blog post on it here, and the Guardian has done the same here.

This doesn’t appear to be a malicious attack and shouldn’t infect your computer if you are unfortunate enough to be a victim. It may, however, redirect you to hardcore Japanese pornography. Fortunately for me, where ‘onmouseover’ is a Javascript-based function exclusive to Twitter.com, users of third party platforms such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck have not been affected.

This is particularly embarrassing for Twitter given the recent roll-out of the “new look” site. The change in appearance and functionality of Twitter.com combined with a widespread security breach could seriously reduce the numbers of people using the platform in browser and provide a boost for third party software.

Personally, I’m surprised at how many people are being affected by this so quickly, but more fundamentally how many people still use Twitter.com. Hootsuite is my weapon of choice, and the ease and organisation it brings my life has made me quite the evangelist (evidently). But having asked several colleagues, it seems that many people just prefer to use it in browser…until now.

I’m hoping they give third party software a try again after this – I think it will improve their experience.

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