This IPO Won't Happen Soon

Forget it, Fool. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) won't touch Twitter. Neither will Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , nor Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) . David Naylor, a U.K.-based search marketing expert, on Tuesday showed how an enterprising hacker might distribute malicious code via tweets.

The trick, Naylor said in a blog post, is to change the reference links Twitter inserts into applications that access its API. Instead of a simple administrative command, a hacker could change the link to a site that downloads digital devilry. Yuck.

"If you change the link in the application settings, it affects all of the historical tweets generated by the application. So it's pretty quick and easy to experiment with different URLs and see what happens," Naylor wrote.

Translation: We're all one sneaky link away from losing control of our Twitter accounts.

This isn't the first time Twitter's had issues. A massive data breach exposed sensitive documents. Profile updates have been wiped clean without warning. And lately, downtime has occurred weekly, and sometimes daily.

All of which is unfortunate. Twitter would add heft to an IPO class whose best prospects seem to be OpenTable (Nasdaq: OPEN  ) , Changyou (Nasdaq: CYOU  ) , Rosetta Stone (NYSE: RST  ) , and SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI  ) . Good businesses all, but they're lightweights compared to social-networking superstars such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and yes, Twitter.

But you can forget a Twitter IPO. Forget an M&A deal, too. So long as miscreants have it this easy, Twitter will remain exactly as it is: private and under assault.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy isn't talking. Quit trying to make it laugh.


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