The Internet as a whole is at the point where you really don’t know who to trust. Malware, spam, and other security and privacy concerns are just so prevalent. That makes this news expected while also surprising. The ex-chief of security at Twitter became a whistleblower on Monday and outed his former company for its lack of security that he describes as “egregious deficiencies.”
Twitter’s Lack of Security
Peiter Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security, claims Twitter violated a Federal Trade Commission settlement with false claims of its security. He filed this claim with the FTC, Security and Exchange Commission, and the United States Department of Justice.
He said he had warned his former co-workers that some of the servers were using old, vulnerable software. He also threw executives under the bus, saying they hid the number of breaches at Twitter in light of an absence of user data protection. Additionally, thousands of employees had wide access to important company software that led to hacks of high-profile account holders, such as former U.S. presidents and Elon Musk.
User growth was more important at Twitter than eliminating spam, according to Zatko’s claims. Bonuses were given out when the number of daily users increased while eliminating spam went unaddressed.
Zatko, a known hacker who goes by the name of “Mudge,” was hired on as the security chief by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey nearly two years ago to address a hack at the company. New CEO Parag Agrawal fired Zatko last January.
Twitter, Mudge, and Elon Musk
Of course, this report has a direct impact on Elon Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter after he acquired a controlling interest in the company. It made big news earlier this year, then he backed out. This led to a legal battle between the company and Musk, with Twitter trying to force him to complete the deal. Twitter sued Musk, then he countersued. The trial is set to begin in October.
He tweeted a Jiminy Cricket meme after the whistleblower’s account was made public, with the words “Give a Little Whistle,” then tweeted an excerpt from the Washington Post article detailing Zatko’s whistleblower account. The passage discusses the amount of spam that passes through Twitter. Musk wrote, “So spam prevalence ‘was’ shared with the board, but the board chose not [to] disclose that to the public … “
Zatko’s charges are reflected in Musk’s efforts to remove himself from the $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. The original deal includes a Twitter promise that shareholder filings are accurate, but he believes the number of bots on the social network is underestimated, so he should be able to throw away the deal.
There are also many political implications because of the number of politicians who use the platform. Twitter holds the email addresses and phone numbers of these people. Zatko even claims Twitter was forced by the Indian government to add one of its agents to the payroll, which gave them access to user data.
This is clearly not the end of this story. If you’re fed up with Twitter and don’t want to wait to see how it all plays out, consider looking into an alternative social media platform. Many former Twitter users fled to Mastodon after the initial news that Musk was trying to buy the company.
Image credit: Unsplash
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox