Security Experts:

Twitter Pays Researcher $10,000 for Hacking Vine

A researcher has earned a significant reward from Twitter after finding a critical security hole that gave him access to the source code of Vine, the social media company’s popular video sharing service.

An expert known online as avicoder was analyzing Vine when he came across the domain Docker is an open platform designed for creating, deploying and running distributed apps using containers. These containers are running instances of files called images.

Accessing the website displayed a “private docker registry” message, but the researcher found a way to access more than 80 images hosted on it. Avicoder downloaded one of these images, named “vinewww,” and discovered that it contained the entire Vine source code, API keys, and third-party keys and secrets.

The researcher notified Twitter via the HackerOne bug bounty platform on March 21, but the social media company did not immediately understand the full extent of the issue. On March 31, Twitter received additional information and patched the flaw within five minutes. A few days later, the company informed Avicoder that he qualified for a $10,080 bounty.

The white hat hacker discovered more than a dozen vulnerabilities in Twitter services since 2015, but most of them only earned him a few hundred dollars.

In January, Avicoder disclosed several flaws in the Vine application for Android. One of them was a WebView vulnerability that allowed an attacker to inject JavaScript and access the app’s permissions and resources. The second issue was related to the insecure transmission of media files, which allowed man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks. The expert had also discovered that the Android app stored usernames and passwords in plain text.

Twitter launched its bug bounty program in May 2014 and the company says it has received over 5,000 submissions from more than 1,600 researchers since then. The social media firm is prepared to offer up to $15,000 for remote code execution flaws, but the highest payout so far has been $12,040. As of May, the total payout was $322,420, with an average of $835 per report.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.