A recap of the past week's news features Twitter worms, attacks on Microsoft's ASP.NET vulnerability and discussions of U.S. cyber-policy.
A cross-site scripting vulnerability impacted as many as 500,000
Twitter users and led a busy week of security news.
The bug was exploited by worms that spread throughout the microblogging
service and affected users ranging from the wife of former British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. The
had patched previously
-was reopened by a site update unrelated to the
launch of "new Twitter," Twitter Security Chief Bob Lord reported.
"First, someone created an account that exploited the issue by turning
tweets different colors and causing a pop-up box with text to appear when
someone hovered over the link in the tweet," Lord explained. "This
is why folks are referring to this an 'OnMouseOver' flaw-the exploit occurred when
someone moused over a link.
"Other users took this one step further and added code that caused people
to retweet the original tweet without their knowledge."
As it turned out, the worms exploiting
the security hole
were created by hobbyists rather than malicious hackers.
That was not the case, however, for attacks on sites belonging to the Motion
Picture Association of America, Recording Industry Association of America and
Aiplex Software, a provider of anti-piracy services. The DoS
hit the MPAA
site Sept. 17, with attacks against RIAA and Aiplex following in the ensuing
days. The attacks were retaliation by piracy advocates, and brought down the
sites for varying periods of time.
"cyber-systems" are also facing unauthorized probes on a regular
basis, and U.S. Cyber Command chief and NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander
suggested walling off critical infrastructure networks from the rest of the
with reporters Sept. 22. Alexander testified before the House Armed
Services Committee the following day about the Cyber Command's role in defending
"Right now, the White House is leading a discussion on, What are the
authorities needed and how do we do this and ... how will that team operate to
defend our country?" he told the committee. "What they will look at
across that is, What are the authorities, what do we have legally and then,
given that, what do we have to come back to Congress [with] and reshape or mold
for authorities to operate in cyber-space?"
Away from Capitol Hill, attackers were busy targeting
security hole involving Microsoft's ASP.NET,
which is used by developers to
build Web applications and XML Web services. According to Microsoft,
"limited attacks" have been seen in the wild targeting a
vulnerability that exists due to ASP.NET's use of encryption padding, which
provides information in error responses that can be used by an attacker to read
and tamper with encrypted data.
In addition in updating its advisory with information about the attacks,
Microsoft added more information Sept. 24 to its workaround
Microsoft has said it is working on a patch for the situation.