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Tweetdeck hack snares Oval Office staff

Stolen credentials; User accounts compromised; Software vulnerability

A security vulnerability on the social media app that allowed attackers to hijack and spew nonsense out of Twitter feeds nailed the White House director of Hispanic media.

The account of staffer Katherine Vargas on Wednesday retweeted a string of programming code, the hallmark of a Twitter hack.

A source familiar told BuzzFeed other administration accounts were caught up in the TweetDeck incident too.

The bug, which let hackers grab user login credentials, was fixed later on Wednesday by a patch the app-maker pushed out.

CNN reports a 19-year-old in Austria started the mayhem.

Florian -- he prefers to go by Firo -- figured out Wednesday morning that "&hearts" makes a "♥" symbol in the coding language HTML, typed the love code into Twitter, and accidentally triggered the security flaw.

Firo told CNN he “was just experimenting when he discovered that using a ‘♥’ created an opening in Tweetdeck's software, allowing for someone to inject computer program commands via a tweet.”

He announced the quirk on Twitter.

Pranksters in the online community noticed, and shortly thereafter, the hacking went viral.

“It was a harmless, brief Twitter disruption, little more than an annoyance,” CNN reports. “As for Firo, a computer science student at an Austrian technical institute, he said he feels terrible about the whole thing.”

Firo told CNN, “"It's horror that TweetDeck made that mistake . . . It’s horror that [hackers] are using this issue. I don't know. I'm sad in a way."

ThreatWatch is a regularly updated catalog of data breaches successfully striking every sector of the globe, as reported by journalists, researchers and the victims themselves. 


Government (U.S.); Social Media


June 11, 2014

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date breach occurred

June 11, 2014

date breach detected

June 11, 2014

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