[CVE-2013-5726] – Tweetbot for iOS and Mac user disclosure/privacy issue

  • Affected Vendor: http://tapbots.com/
  • Affected Software: Tweetbot for Mac, iPad and iPhone
  • Affected Version: Mac: 1.3.3 – iPad: 2.8.5 – iPhone: 2.8.5
  • Issue Type: Lack of user confirmation leading to Twitter action revealing the user’s Twitter identity
  • Release Date: November 1, 2013
  • Discovered by: Guillaume Ross
  • CVE Identifier: CVE–2013–5726
  • Issue Status: Vendor has published version 3 for iPhone which resolves the issue. Vendor has confirmed the fix is in the Mac and iOS V2 codebase and should be released soon.


Tweebot is a Twitter client for Mac and iOS. Separate iOS versions exist for iPhone and iPad.

Tweetbot has a URL Scheme/association on all versions that allows actions to be triggered from within other applications. The supported actions can be viewed at http://tapbots.com/blog/development/tweetbot-url-scheme


The actions related to following and favoriting do not prompt the user before performing the action. Additionally, Safari in iOS warns the user that an application will be launched only when the URL is used directly, but not when the URL is used within an inline frame. This makes the attack function without requiring user interaction.


Tweetbot URL Vulnerability on iOS


A user browsing the web could click a malicious link or load a page containing a malicious link within an inline frame. The user would then favorite a tweet or follow a user account on Twitter. The attacker can use this action to identify the user browsing the page, to gather followers or to have the victim follow people they would be embarrassed to be associated with.

Proof of Concept


This URL would have the user follow Justin Bieber. By embedding it in an inline frame, the attack is automated on iOS and on Mac.

<iframe src="tweetbot:///follow/justinbieber"></iframe>

Response Timeline

  • August 27 2013 – Vendor notified
  • August 27 2013 – Vendor acknowledges vulnerability
  • October 24 2013 – Tweetbot v3 for iPhone is released and resolves the issue
  • October 31 2013 – Vendor confirms the fix is in the V2 and Mac code base and will be released soon
  • November 1 2013 – Vulnerability Disclosed

Temporary workaround for the Mac version

Ensure that your browser does not automatically launch Tweetbot.


Here is a sample in Firefox.

Tweetbot Prompt in Firefox


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One Response to [CVE-2013-5726] – Tweetbot for iOS and Mac user disclosure/privacy issue

  1. Pingback: Scheming for Privacy and Security | Binaryfactory.ca

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