Teen Creates Twitter Worm 'Out of Boredom'

Dennis Faas's picture

While many people were expecting the arrival of Easter Bunny greeting e-cards over the weekend, an unwelcome "Twitter bug" hopped onto many systems, too. According to reports, the worm was still mutating and affecting countless user profiles well into Monday.

Initial reports of the "Mickeyy" worm began on Saturday morning at around 2 a.m., as users were hit with a barrage of questionable messages. As is becoming the norm for most malware attacks (ie. Koobface), users were enticed to click onto an infected page posted by another user. The clicks then set off a chain reaction that posted annoying tweets to other members.

On Sunday morning at around 11 a.m., the worm had affected roughly 90 accounts, which Twitter successfully contained and secured. However, the social networking haven later learned that a second, more intense version of the worm was still spreading and had affected an additional 100 accounts. As of press time, Twitter has secured and contained the second version of the worm, although a third wave is believed to be already in existence. (Source: yahoo.com)

The entire situation is being called a "vicious cycle" and one in which Twitter will continue to battle throughout the week.

More Annoying than Damaging

Mickeyy is being described as more of a nuisance than a damaging virus, as the worm sends out false tweets in an attempt to collect usernames and browser cookies. The good news is that no sensitive Twitter information was compromised in the attacks.

There is a way to combat the virus: Twitter must close the cross-scripting hole in their profile code. The bad news is that of the three sites that have hosted versions of the code, one is still active, which allows for the mutation and its continued existence. (Source: newsfactor.com)

Creator had 'Nothing Better to Do'

What is shocking about the entire ordeal is that Twitter believes they know exactly who is responsible for creating the mutating worm: a teenager by the name of Michael "Mickeyy" Mooney. Apparently, the teen created and implemented the worm "out of boredom". (Source: netnewsdaily.com)

The Mickeyy virus mirrors the infamous Samy worm, which infected the popular social-networking site MySpace a while back. At the time, MySpace reacted with a lawsuit against the virus creator which resulted in a felony charge and a harsh sentence.

Twitter did not comment on what actions will be taken against Mooney.

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