Who is @derGeruhn, the Twitter account that 40,000 Tweetdeck users just involuntarily retweeted?


@derGeruhn’s Twitter avatar, which is currently everywhere. (Twitter)

Something odd is going down on the interwebs today: This morning, Feedly and Evernote both reported that they were battling DDoS attacks. Not to be outdone, Tweetdeck then suffered its own security issue — and more than 40,000 users automatically, involuntarily, retweeted a cryptic line of code from a user with the handle @derGeruhn after getting an error message from the site.

That’s led many to speculate that @derGeruhn is a spam account or some kind of Twitter bot. But it’s not: The account belongs to a “single, strange, arrogant” German programmer and college student named Andy Perdana, and it’s unclear how he’s involved in this whole mess … if at all.

Perdana has been on Twitter with the handle @derGeruhn since 2012, a year after he began studying computer science at the University of Applied Science in Karlesruhe, Germany, per a Google+ account that appears to be his. He’s contributed code to online gaming projects on Github, and maintains a profile on the encrypted messaging site Keybase. In fact, his Keybase account is what links his various profiles together: On that profile, he lists both @derGeruhn and the Web site andyperdana.de as his own.

Perdana’s Twitter activity over the past two years would suggest he’s a fan of anime — he tweeted as much to the account of the German manga convention Connichi — and My Little Pony, the character depicted in several of his avatars. He’s tweeted frequently about the Konferenz der Informatik-Fachschaften, a computer-science conference held in Dortmund, Germany.

His tweets don’t, unfortunately, appear to reveal any link between Perdana and this mysterious string of DDoS attacks. We’ve reached out to Perdana for further explanation on that score, and will update this post if we hear back from him.

Update, 1:25 p.m.: @derGeruhn has tweeted that his message was intentional — and apparently a prank. It doesn’t appear to relate to any of the other Internet weirdness going on today; per Tweetdeck, the message took advantage of a security vulnerability in the platform.

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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