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"Iranian Cyber Army" wipes out one of the most popular social networks in the world
Around 10pm PST on Thursday night, Twitter suffered a DNS attack. While all third-party applications worked swimmingly, Twitter.com temporarily redirected to a site which displayed the following message:
THIS SITE HAS BEEN HACKED BY IRANIAN CYBER ARMY
U.S.A. Think They Controlling And Managing Internet By Their Access, But THey Don’t, We Control And Manage Internet By Our Power, So Do Not Try To Stimulation Iranian Peoples To….
NOW WHICH COUNTRY IN EMBARGO LIST? IRAN? USA?
WE PUSH THEM IN EMBARGO LIST ;)
Of course, nobody knows for sure who this "Iranian Cyber Army" is, but the message certainly raises some eyebrows--Twitter stole the limelight over the summer for becoming one of the most popular online services Iranian protesters could use to organize demonstrations against what they believed to be a dishonest presidential election.
Almost two hours after the site came back online, Twitter posted an official update:
As we tweeted a bit ago, Twitter's DNS records were temporarily compromised tonight but have now been fixed. As some noticed, Twitter.com was redirected for a while but API and platform applications were working. We will update with more information and details once we've investigated more fully.
Weirdly enough, at 1am PST, the same enigmatic Iranian Cyber Army posting remained online at another site, https://www.mowjcamp.org, whose original state is unknown at this time.
Whoever this "army" is, their ability to take down Twitter so comprehensively and for so long does not reflect so much on their skill as it does on the poor quality of Twitter's security. The site is not unfamiliar with frequent down-times and even security issues similar to this have occurred in the past. But last night's complete takedown of Twitter.com is the worst sign of sloppy security yet.
Hopefully, Twitter will give us a more substantial news update shortly.
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What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests.
Where did the idea for Twitter come from?
Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.
How is Twitter built?
Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes.
We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.
How do you make money from Twitter?
There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.
In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet.
At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.
Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.
What's next for Twitter?
We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users.
We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.