Avaya Innovations Twitter account hijacked

SAD

Over the weekend I received a curious direct message on Twitter from @AvayaInnovations with the following text, “Did you see this funny pic of you? lol! bit.ly/XSzado”.

WebForgery2

I didn’t attend the recent Avaya Technology Forums in Florida or any other official event recently so the message immediately raised my suspicions such that I left the message alone until this morning. A quick search via the Internet revealed that I wasn’t the only person to receive this curious message. That said I could certainly see more than a few people believing the message to be genuine if they had some interaction with an Avaya employee or partner at the ATF or any other official function or venue which we hear about weekly from this same Twitter account.

WebForgeryI decided to pursue the actual HTTP link and see where it went. The original link was from Bit.ly which is a link shortening service. These services popped up overnight with the success of Twitter and social networking sites like Facebook to help save space and characters. Unfortunately they have a significant security downfall, in that you don’t really know where the link goes until you actually visit it. See the story by David Weiss entitled, “The Security Implications of URL Shortening Services” for a good explanation. The link from Bit.ly relayed me to twpitter.com which was immediately reported as a web forgery on Mozilla’s Firefox. Mozilla’s Firefox 3 and later incorporates built-in Malware and Phishing protection in participation with Google.

The name of the site was itself very suspicious, twpitter.com. Having a quick look at the WHOIS database told me all that I needed to know.

[Querying whois.verisign-grs.com]
[Redirected to grs-whois.hichina.com]
[Querying grs-whois.hichina.com]
[grs-whois.hichina.com]
Domain Name ..................... twpitter.com
Name Server ..................... dns9.hichina.com
dns10.hichina.com
Registrant ID ................... hc292727277-cn
Registrant Name ................. yong yi
Registrant Organization ......... yi yong
Registrant Address .............. Shang Hai City
Registrant City ................. Shang Hai
Registrant Province/State ....... Shang Hai
Registrant Postal Code .......... 200000
Registrant Country Code ......... CN
Registrant Email ................ liwei553@hotmail.com
Administrative ID ............... hc292727277-cn
Administrative Name ............. yong yi
Administrative Organization ..... yi yong
Administrative Address .......... Shang Hai City
Administrative City ............. Shang Hai
Administrative Province/State ... Shang Hai
Administrative Postal Code ...... 200000
Administrative Country Code ..... CN
Administrative Email ............ liwei553@hotmail.com
Billing ID ...................... hc292727277-cn
Billing Name .................... yong yi
Billing Organization ............ yi yong
Billing Address ................. Shang Hai City
Billing City .................... Shang Hai
Billing Province/State .......... Shang Hai
Billing Postal Code ............. 200000
Billing Country Code ............ CN
Billing Email ................... liwei553@hotmail.com
Technical ID .................... hc292727277-cn
Technical Name .................. yong yi
Technical Organization .......... yi yong
Technical Address ............... Shang Hai City
Technical City .................. Shang Hai
Technical Province/State ........ Shang Hai
Technical Postal Code ........... 200000
Technical Country Code .......... CN
Technical Email ................. liwei553@hotmail.com
Expiration Date ................. 2014-03-09 01:42:03

Looks like the miscreants are up to their old tricks, although you can’t really trust WHOIS either.

Later in the afternoon I received a follow-up  tweet from an Avaya employee;

WebForgery3

This is the new attack vector of the miscreants, utilizing trusted sources for spreading their wares. This includes trusted websites along with email and twitter contacts. I was disappointed that I didn’t receive any follow-up from either Avaya or Avaya Innovations. Normally I wouldn’t bother writing a post up about such a trivial matter but I got the impression that Avaya or whoever is managing the Avaya Innovations account was just going to ignore it entirely and pretend that it never happened. Well it did happen and you put our followers at risk! Avaya should at a minimum inform all those users of the issue and provide advice if they happened to visit the link before it was blocked. I took the action of reporting the link to Bit.ly via email.

Cheers!

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