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How a browser worm slithered across a huge number of Tumblr accounts - Self-replicating attack forces site accounts to post trolls' offensive screed.


A quickly spreading worm on Tumblr has caused media companies The Verge, Reuters, and a large number of other account holders to publish a post laced with racist epithets and other offensive content.

The stunt, attributed to long-time Internet trolling collective GNAA, caused affected Tumblr accounts to display the post. People who viewed the post while logged into Tumblr were in turn forced to publish the offensive content, causing the attack to spread virally according to security researchers. More than 86,000 accounts were affected, according to unconfirmed claims from GNAA members. Tumblr issued a statement saying site engineers are working to combat a "viral post circulating on Tumblr." It advised anyone who has viewed the post to immediately log out of all browsers that may be logged in. Update: Later in the day the company said engineers had resolved the problem.

The malicious posting can be easily removed from infected accounts using the Tumblr mass editor. The site also recommends affected users change their account password, a measure that's probably not necessary, but wise considering Tumblr researchers have yet to offer a complete analysis of the attack.