President’s confusing ‘covfefe’ tweet remains live for hours

Rambling late night tweets from the President of the United States have been a part of our reality for several months now, but the latest one has gone to a new level. At 12:06AM ET the @RealDonaldTrump account posted a message saying that “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” — and that was it. Covfefe is already a meme with a Twitter Moment, however so far there’s no word from the White House about what it was supposed to say, or if the president just got an important call from Justin Trudeau on his iPhone in mid-tweet.

Whatever the intended meaning behind the tweet, it comes at an interesting time, within a day of White House communications director Mike Dubke announcing his resignation. It’s also closely trailing a report by the Wall Street Journal indicating the White House is considering a plan to have a team of lawyers vet Trump’s social media posts before they go out.

Two hours after the covfefe tweet went out it’s still up (judging by a letter from the National Archives (PDF), it is legal for the President to delete tweets, however it has advised the White House to “capture and preserve all tweets” including deleted ones), and even the dictionary doesn’t know quite what to say about it. Of course, covfefe might really mean “Twitter finally adds an editing feature,” but that seems like a long shot.

The mystery of Trump’s ‘covfefe’

Source: Covfefe Twitter Moment, Donald Trump (Twitter)

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How a joke tweet brought 911 to its knees

For over 12 hours in late October, 911 lines across the country were ringing so much that they nearly went down. Nobody knew why this was happening, until Phoenix police discovered that 18-year-old Meetkumar Hitesbhai Desai tweeted a link that caused iPhones to repeatedly dial 911. Now, more details have emerged about how the Twitter prank spiraled out of control.

Desai claimed the attack was a joke gone wrong, telling police he only meant for the link to cause annoying pop-ups, The Wall Street Journal reports. However, he posted the wrong code. It started when, from his @SundayGavin Twitter account, he tweeted the link and wrote, “I CANT BELIEVE PEOPLE ARE THIS STUPID.” When clicked, the URL, which was condensed by Google’s link shortener, launched an iOS-based JavaScript attack that caused iPhones to dial 911 repeatedly. When users hung up, the phone would keep redialing until it was restarted.

Desai has fewer than 1,200 Twitter followers, but the attack spread as other users reposted it, saying it was a link to new Drake music or other trolly things like that. The malware received its biggest exposure when it was posted by @duhitzmark, a social media celebrity with 463,000 Twitter followers. More than a few of his fans fell for the trap: Investigators say the link was clicked 117,502 times.

Since most emergency call centers are landline-based, they’re not as vulnerable to technological attacks as the VoIP systems that many large businesses use. However, even this type of attack could be dangerous if there’s malicious intent behind it. “If this was a nation-state actor that wanted to damage or disable 911 systems during an attack, they could have succeeded spectacularly,” Trey Forgety, director of government affairs at the National Emergency Number Association, told the Journal. “This was a serious wake-up call.”

Apple isn’t taking the issue lightly: It’s already implementing measures to make sure this type of attack can’t happen again on its platform. A forthcoming iOS update will cause a window with the options “cancel” and “call” to pop up on the iPhone screen when calls are made, Apple told the Journal. In order to initiate a call, users will have to tap the “call” button before the number is dialed. It’s also working with third-party developers to bring similar security standards to their apps.

Desai claimed he wanted to submit the iOS vulnerability to Apple as part of its bug bounty program, but Apple said he was not part of it. Regardless of his intent, Desai has been charged with four felony counts of computer tampering and faces up to 12 and a half years in prison.

Via: Select All

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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