SSL Bug Slaps Twitter

He's not dead, he's just pining for the fjords!When your app gets hacked because of a bug in your code, that’s pretty bad.  But when your app gets hacked because of a bug in an underlying protocol that’s a building block of the Internet, then you’re looking at a really serious problem.

Such is the case with Twitter, which last week was shown to be vulnerable to a bug in the SSL standard.  SSL is the protocol that encrypts data going back and forth on the web, keeping our credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, and everything else safe and secure.  The trouble is, it’s broken and has been since the mid-1990s.

Right now, the IETF (the standards setting body for the Internet and the closest thing to an Internet Illuminati) has started drafting an update for SSL, but such things take time.  In the mean time, sites like Twitter are suffering the consequences.

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uTest Awarded By Society Of New Communications Research

SNCR logoJust a quick note to share some good news from inside the halls of uTest.  On Friday night, our marketing team attended the awards event of the SNCR at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, MA.  This event included blue-chip brands like HP, Intel and Stanford University, as well as innovators like HubSpot.

The SNCR holds this event to recognize companies that are exploring new and innovative avenues of communications and marketing.  We were fortunate enough to be among those companies and agencies who were honored for our use of new media to build and engage our community.

SNCR - uTest picIt’s great to be counted among those who are pushing the limits of social networking, blogs, forums and other forms of media, but we’re just getting started.  We’ve already established a vibrant presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, but we’re always on the lookout for new ideas.

So with that, I’m inviting you to drop us a comment or shoot us a note with your thoughts about how we could make our social media more useful, informative or entertaining.

Do You Know Where That Tweet Has Been?

While scanning this weekend, I came across an article that’s scary enough to fit right in with Halloween.  Most security

Twitter malware

(Click to enlarge chart)

studies address issues in operating systems, browsers or other core systems.  This one, however, addressed the uber-popular Twitter and the URL shorteners that are widely used because of its 140 character constraints (eg:, tinyurl,

And while Twitter and URL shortening services aren’t dangerous in and of themselves, they present a wonderful tool for blackhats.  In this case, Wired published the findings of a study from computer security firm, Kaspersky.

You can read the full article here, but the top-level findings are, in a word, scary.

As many as one in every 500 web addresses posted on Twitter lead to sites hosting malware, according to researchers at Kaspersky Labs who have deployed a tool that examines URLs circulating in tweets.

The spread of malware is aided by the popular use of shortened URLs on Twitter, which generally hide the real website address from users before they click on a link, preventing them from self-filtering links that appear to be dodgy.

1 in 500 doesn’t sound so scary to you? Check out what that .2% really means after the jump.

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Vote uTest for “Best Corporate Blog” in Mashable’s Open WebAwards!

Mashable Open WebAwardThanks to you, uTest blog traffic has more than doubled since the beginning of ’09.  And since our relaunch in mid-May, we’ve use this space to share breaking industry news, testing events and meetups, uTest company info, and original content from around the QA industry through our guest bloggers and “Testing the Limits” interviews.  That’s why we need your help to get the Software Testing Blog into the running for Mashable’s Open WebAwards in the “Best Corporate Blog” category.

So if you like the uTest blog, this is your chance to cast your vote and  support uTest and our community. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to (You must be signed into your Facebook or Twitter account.)
  2. Then simply Nominate: for Category: “Best Corporate Blog”
  3. Voting is once per day, so please don’t be shy!

Thanks in advance for your help, and keep your fingers crossed for another big win for uTest and our community! Send us a note with any questions.

5 Product Lessons We Can All Digg

Dig'em!Every startup team has great and spirited debates about its products (or services).  We debate what works, what doesn’t, what makes it unique, and most importantly, what users want. We draw inspiration when new products launch and change the world.  Think back in the day, the family of iPhones or, more recently, Facebook and Twitter.

And similarly, we witness product missteps that make us wince, rant or just shake our heads.   One such case emerged today with DiggBar (Digg’s URL shortening service) under the bright lights of a TechCrunch article titled, DiggBar Commits Career Suicide, Starts Redirecting To Digg Homepage.  In the words of  TC’s Jason Kincaid:

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Q2 Bug Battle Results: Twitter, Testers and Trophies

And by trophies, we mean nearly $4000 in cash prizes.

Yes, the results of the Battle of the Desktop Twitter Apps are final. The week-long QA competition – in which more than 600 testers  searched for bugs in five of the most popular Twitter apps – was a  success. As expected, we received hundreds (320 to be exact) of interesting GUI, technical and functional bugs, so selecting a handful of winners was obviously no easy task.

In fact, it was so difficult that we decided to expand our winners list. Also, be sure to download our free special report (PDF), detailing the results of the post-battle usability survey.

As you’ll see from the results page, the Battle of the Desktop Twitter Apps saw several repeat winners, along with some fresh, new uTest talent. Here’s a top-line list of the winners:

  • Top Tester: Bernard Lelchuck (Israel)
  • Top Novice: Tyler Ritchie (USA)
  • Top US Tester: Joseph Ours

Tyler and Bernard also finished 1st and 2nd in the “Best Bug” category. Other winners for “Best Bug” included:

  • Claire Pelayo (Philippines)
  • Bryan Fisk (New Zealand)
  • Aymen Chehaider (India)

As far as the apps were concerned, the uTest community ranked Tweet Deck #1 in terms of usability, feature set and overall quality. Coming in second (also in every category) was Seesmic Desktop, followed by Twirl, Tweetr and Twitteroo.

twitterbirdThe results have already been featured in a Mashable story yesterday, ase well as a bunch of other news outlets, and of course, hundreds of individual tweets.

Once again, congratulations to all of the Bug Battle winners, and thanks to all those from our community who participated. If you’re aleady looking forward to our next competition – and we know you are – be sure to send us your ideas. We can be reached at, and of course, on Twitter.

uTest, Twitter Apps Agree to Bug Battle Ceasefire

The bug hunting portion of our Q2 Bug Battle is now history. Although testers are no longer looking for bugs in the top 6 Twitter applications – like they were for the last seven days –  they can still win prize money for submitting valuable feedback.failwail

So if you were one of the hundreds of testers who participated in our now famous bug hunting competition, be sure to visit the uTest Forums and complete the brief survey. If you’re looking for tips on leaving valuable feedback, you can find that in the forums as well. NOTE: You have until midnight (EST) on Saturday, June 6 to complete the survey.

We’ll be announcing the official results shortly, so be sure to check back in regularly for more details. We’ve got to keep quiet for now (top-secret stuff, you know) but from what we’ve seen so far, the results have been predictably twitterific – err – terrific.

Once more, great job to all those from our community who participated. We’re looking forward to reading your survey responses. Good luck!

UPDATE: Bug Battlin’ on Twitter Apps

Quick update after 1 1/2 days of action from our 2nd quarter Bug Battle that’s comparing and evaluating the top six Twitter desktop apps:

1.    Tweet Deck 0.25
2.    Seesmic DESKTOP
3.    Twhirl 0.9.2
4.    Tweetr 3.4
5.    Twitterific 3.2 (mac only)
6.    Twitteroo 1.5 (pc only)

We’ve already had more than 400 testers participate and 150+ bugs, including a few verrrrry interesting defects.  The bar has been raised, but we’re looking forward to seeing what this weekend produces.

Want updated Bug Battle results? Check out the uTest on LinkedIn, our Facebook group, follow uTest on Twitter, or hit our testers-only forums.

Remember, the Bug Battle ends Wednesday, June 3rd and there’s more than $3,000 in prize money at stake.  Happy weekend and happy (bug) hunting!

Bug Battle Part III: Twitter Apps!

After web browsers and social media sites, you were probably wondering how we’d top ourselves for the next uTest Bug Battle. Well, after months of debate and deliberation, uTesters will compete to find bugs in six of the top Twitter desktop apps!

Unless you’ve been asleep, in a coma, or camping in the wilderness for the past two years, you’re likely aware that the Twitterverse is expanding at a mind boggling rate (thanks, Ashton and Oprah). And since hundreds of apps have been created around the popular micro-blogging site, we figured they’d make a perfect subject for our now famous Bug Battle. Here are the Twitter apps we’ll be testing, in no particular order:

1.    Tweet Deck 0.25
2.    Seesmic DESKTOP
3.    Twhirl 0.9.2
4.    Tweetr 3.4
5.    Twitterific 3.2 (mac only)
6.    Twitteroo 1.5 (pc only)

The contest kicks off RIGHT NOW (12:01am ET on Thursday) and will run through 11:59pm ET next Wednesday, June 3rd.

During that time, members of our QA community will be searching for the most serious, compelling bugs they can find, including technical, functional and GUI bugs. uTesters can focus their efforts on as many or as few of these as they choose.  We will be awarding more than $3,000 in prize money for:

* Top overall tester (based on quality of bugs and feedback)
* Top novice tester (same criteria)
* Top US-based tester (same)
* Top five individual bugs (severity and complexity)
* Best feedback (post-contest survey about the feature set, functionality and usability)

You can get more info on the Twitter Bug Battle. To find out how you – yes you! – can win the money finding bugs in these Twitter applications, be sure to check out the Bug Battle thread in our testers-only forums.

Have questions or ideas for future Bug Battles? Drop us a comment. Want to keep up with the Bug Battle action while it’s going on?  We’ll be sharing real-time updates throughout the weeklong Twitter contest on (where else?) Twitter.