Australian teen claims he's responsible for Twitter hack

An Australian teenager has claimed that he is responsible for the monumental Twitter exploit that saw thousands of Twitter accounts affected yesterday.

The 17-year-old boy, Pearce Delphin, who uses the moniker @zzap on Twitter, said that he originated the onMouseOver JavaScript flaw by tweeting the relevant code, which was then utilised by hackers to launch a large-scale attack on Twitter.

“I did it merely to see if it could be done … that JavaScript really could be executed within a tweet,” Delphin told AFP.  “At the time of posting the tweet, I had no idea it was going to take off how it did. I just hadn’t even considered it.”

The teen admitted his part in the origin of the exploit after a security firm called Netcraft tracked it back to him.

He said that it was difficult to write a JavaScript code that would function properly while being limited to 140 characters, but that some of his followers must have realised its potential. He said that many people will only have used it for pranks, but that it has the potential to steal user account details, something that Twitter claims has not occurred during the attack.

“I discovered a vulnerability, I didn’t create a self-replicating worm. As far as I know, that isn’t technically illegal,” Delphin said. “Hopefully I won’t get in trouble!” 

He is weeks off graduating from school and plans to study law in college, but perhaps computer programming might be a more fitting choice. He said his parents have yet to find out about his involvement in the Twitter exploit.