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TweetDeck shut down after fault discovered by Austrian teen

Twitter's popular publishing platform TweetDeck was hacked after an Austrian teenager who posted a heart emoticon discovered a vulnerability in the programme.

Teen Florian found that repeatedly writing "&hearts", which creates a heart symbol in HTML, forced a pop up to open on TweetDeck. After he discovered the irregularity he posted "Vulnerability discovered in TweetDeck. \o/" and informed Twitter.

But a speedy hacker had already used the vulnerability to force 40,000 users to automatically and involuntarily retweet a cryptic line of code. Once this tweet appears on the publishing platform, the code can run actions and be re-tweeted to other accounts.

The hacking forced TweetDeck to temporarily shut down the platform on Wednesday. Twitter also published a code that supposedly fixed the problem - that apparently did not work.

Thinking it was solved, the company tweeted 'A security issue that affected TweetDeck Wednesday morning has been fixed. Please log out of TweetDeck and log back in to fully apply the fix.'  However, some time later the firm tweeted: "We've verified our security fix and have turned TweetDeck services back on for all users," suggesting the problem persisted.

Florian himself insisted he did not hack the system himself and that he had discovered the vulnerability by accident. Speaking to CNN, he said he was saddened by the event:

"It's horror that TweetDeck made that mistake. It's horror that [hackers] are using this issue. I don't know. I'm sad in a way."

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