Ivanka Trump Botches Tweet-based Cross-Site Scripting Attack

September 26, 2017


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Outwardly disguised as an announcement for the White House's new STEM funding program, a tweet posted Monday evening by Ivanka Trump proved to actually be a failed attempt at injecting untrusted code into browsers of millions of Twitter users. Cross-site scripting (XSS), the website-based vector chosen by Ivanka, when successfully executed allows attackers to run malicious JavaScript on the browsers of other users.

The intent and target of the ham-handed attempt launched by the President's daughter remains unclear. The attack, which took the form of a <script> tag containing the payload, was foiled by Twitter's competent engineering staff who had taken the time to responsibly escape the characters contained in the tweet's text.

The tweet, as it originally appeared:

After spending hours analyzing the attack, security experts are still uncertain of its objective, especially since the code does not make sense or seem to have any effect. Though valid in modern JavaScript engines, the attack's code makes use of bizarre capitalization, strange variable scoping, unnecessary equivalence checks, and does not appear to have any side effects. Some experts voiced opinions that this was an amateurish attempt at obfuscation.

When approached for comment, a White House spokesperson insisted the tweet was just Ivanka being cute, but indicated that they expected Twitter's recent expansion to 280 characters to "open up a lot of new possibilities".


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