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Posts Tagged ‘StalkDaily’

How To Use Twitter To Leverage Your Blog (Part One)

Over the Easter Weekend, Twitter got hit hard, and repeatedly, by self-replicating computer programs known as worms. These hacks, which were allegedly the work of 17-year old ‘Mickeyy Mooney’, began on Saturday, initially promoting the website StalkDaily.com, of which Mr Mooney is the creator.

Twitter users became infected by the StalkDaily worm by visiting the infected profile page of another user. After infection, these users began to auto-tweet recommendations to visit StalkDaily.com on a fairly frequent basis. It rapidly spread – Twitter themselves estimated some 100 accounts were initially compromised, and 10,000 worm-powered tweets were delivered. (My guess is was actually a lot more.)

How To Use Twitter To Leverage Your Blog (Part One)

This article is made up of two parts. In the first, I will provide some detail on the events of the Easter weekend as they transpired from my perspective, and share information on how I reacted to the worms as they broke and delivered a lot of traffic to this blog.

The Beginning

I first noticed the StalkDaily worm when a couple of users I followed began to tweet about the site repeatedly. I thought it strange practice; very out of character. Another user then replied to me directly to ask if I knew why her account was delivering these auto-tweets, and so I investigated the matter further.

Pretty soon, two things happened. One, I realised it was an exploit of some kind, and two, by visiting a few profiles to see what was going on, I was now infected myself. I looked at my own profile, and sure enough I’d sent out four StalkDaily.com auto-tweet recommendations without my knowledge or consent.

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HOWTO: Remove Mikeyy From Your Twitter Profile (UPDATED)

Mikeyy is a similar Twitter exploit to yesterday’s StalkDaily. It can be removed pretty easily if you are infected.

(To see if you are infected, check your profile timeline for Mikeyy-approving tweets you didn’t submit yourself. They should be pretty easy to spot.)

How To Remove Mikeyy

  1. Turn off Javascript in your browser. (This will be in settings or options – Google for more detail.)
  2. Close down any exernal Twitter clients (i.e., TweetDeck or Tweetie).
  3. In your Twitter settings page, delete anything suspicious that you did not add yourself. Check everywhere carefully, but it’s usually in the URL or location fields.
  4. Check that your profile design hasn’t been compromised. Some folk are saying their colours have been reset. (You will need to turn Javascript back on to edit your profile design. This is fine at this stage.)
  5. Consider resetting your password on Twitter. There is no evidence that these hacks are malicious enough to break into your Twitter account, but why take the risk? You may also like to clear your cookies and cache (which can be found in your browser’s settings).
  6. Once done, log back out of your account and then back in. If Twitter has locked your account, or does so in the future, you will have to ask for a password reset.

If your Javascript is still disabled in your browser you can now re-enable it.

Mikeyy is not being hidden in shortened URLs, but you may wish to avoid clicking on these from sources you do not absolutely trust in case the URL takes you to an infected profile or other varient of the exploit. Likewise, avoiding visiting user profiles on Twitter or within TweetDeck until Twitter has said with absolute certainty that the threat has passed. Monitor Twitter’s status page for updates.

UPDATE: There have been some reports that infected profiles are visible by rolling your mouse over their username on Twitter.com. If infected, code is sometimes visible after their username in the URL bar. This can help you to avoid infected profiles.

These tips will likely work for any similar exploits on Twitter. You should also take all necessary precautions to protect yourself in the future.

(Lynne Pope has more detail and additional steps you can take at her blog.)

APRIL 12 UPDATE: Twitter has commented on the steps they took and are taking to handle these exploits on their official blog. As of 2130 GMT, and judging by instances on Twitter search, Mikeyy seems to have been defused. Panic and hyperbole remains – help out Twitter by forwarding concerned users to this blog. Thank you. :)

APRIL 13 UPDATE: (1000 GMT) Mikeyy seems to have returned en masse (Twitter search), likely with a new strain. Twitter is once again addressing the situation. Meantime, you can take the steps above to remove Mikeyy if you are infected. Please share this post with all your friends on Twitter. Thank you. :)

APRIL 17 UPDATE: A new strain of Mikeyy returned to Twitter. The cure remains the same. :)

HOWTO: Protect Yourself On Twitter (Lessons Learned From The StalkDaily/Mikeyy Worms)

UPDATE: This article was written prior to the return of the Mikeyy virus, but the advice remains relevant and is good practice.

Thus far, nobody really knows what happened yesterday on Twitter with the StalkDaily explot. There’s been some speculation and the good news was that Twitter moved quickly to eliminate the problem. A 17-year old by the name of Mikeyy Mooney has claimed credit for the script, and looks responsible for the latest one that is doing the rounds (or is being scapegoated/glorified).

Twitter claims that nothing was jeopardised and I’m inclined to believe them. Still, when I recommended folk reset their passwords yesterday I was quite surprised at how many responses I got claiming that this course of action was either unnecessary or mad.

Here’s what I think: even if there was no risk to your password, why take the risk? If StalkDaily or whoever was responsible managed to find a way to add a script to my profile through a loophole on Twitter, what’s to stop them, or that script, doing something else?

Surely a policy of ‘better safe than sorry’ applies in all cases like this? You can always change your password back if you later discover there was no threat to your security. Hindsight is twenty-twenty.

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HOWTO: Remove StalkDaily.com From Your Infected Twitter Profile (UPDATED)

The issue on Twitter has now been rectified but please read and take the steps below if you are infected. For tips on how you can protect yourself in the future from these exploits, go here. For help on removing the Mikeyy worm, go here.

Twitter was hit hard today by StalkDaily, a cross-site scripting (XSS) exploit that will make you auto-tweet recommendations to the site all day long. It did it four times for me before I noticed.

Do Not Visit

You can get infected by visiting StalkDaily.com (don’t do it), as well as by opening the user profiles of other infected accounts within Twitter. Twitter is seriously infected with it. To check if you are, visit http://search.twitter.com and enter your username and the word stalkdaily.com as a search query, i.e.

sheamus stalkdaily.com

This will let you see if you have sent out any tweets without you realising.

Removing StalkDaily From Your Twitter Profile

  1. In your browser, clear your cache and empty all of your cookies. (This can be found in your settings.)
  2. Log out of TweetDeck or any external applications you are using.
  3. Check the URL and location areas of your profile (in Settings/Account on Twitter.com) for evidence of any malicious scripts. It’ll be obvious – something you haven’t added to these areas yourself. If you find anything, remove it. (Note: there was nothing in my profile, but I was still hit. Taking the rest of these steps still fixed the issue.)
  4. On Twitter.com, change your password.
  5. Log back in. It should be okay. If so, log back into TweetDeck et al.
  6. Go back and delete any tweets sent by you recommending StalkDaily. This is important.
  7. Report @stalkdaily in a tweet to Twitter’s @spam account as follows: @spam @stalkdaily

DO NOT visit StalkDaily.com. Do not visit the profiles of users who are clearly infected.

If you later find yourself locked out of your Twitter account, this is a protective measure on Twitter’s part. You will need to reset your password on Twitter to log back in.

Please re-tweet this on Twitter using the button at the beginning of this post.

Thanks!