Peter Zatko, the former head of cybersecurity at Twitter, revealed that the company faces serious problems in this area that will not only put the personal data of users of the social network at risk, but will also pose a risk “to the company’s shareholders, US national security and democracy.” like him they wrote CNN and the Washington PostTo whom Zatko detailed the security issues he found in about a year working at Twitter.
Last month, the IT scientist shared about 200 pages of documents on these issues with the US Congress and various federal agencies, accusing some Twitter management of wanting to hide social vulnerabilities and claiming that some employees might work for a foreign secret. Services. He said the Senate Intelligence Committee, which received the Zatko documents, is organizing a meeting to discuss the allegations CNN spokeswoman for Rachel Cohen.
A well-known former hacker – in 1998 he was part of a group that offered advice to US institutions on how to strengthen national cyber security, and claimed in a Senate hearing that they could shut down the Internet in 30 minutes. Zatko has been in the cybersecurity field for years, collaborating with Google and the US Department of Defense, among others. It was appointed by founder Jack Dorsey and Former CEO of Twitterat the end of 2020, then in a massive cyber attack The files of dozens of celebrities, including Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk, were hacked.
A little over a year later, last January, Zatko was fired by current CEO Parag Agrawal, the former technical director: the company’s official motive would be his poor results as head of security, while Zatko claims his dismissal was in retaliation for her warnings about safety concerns. Agrawal and his closest associates were discouraging Zatko from reporting the problems to the board fully.
Overall, Zatko’s story and the documents he collected and shared indicate that Twitter’s management did not want to step in to solve the security issues. Chief among them is the fact that thousands of Twitter employees – about half of the total – will have access to the infrastructure that supports the platform’s work and confidential information. This position would violate the agreement that Twitter entered into in 2011 with the Federal Trade Commission, the government agency that deals with consumer protection and privacy.
Furthermore, the company will not have the tools to control any changes made by the individual employee because it has little control over the computers used at work.
Zatko also claims that Twitter does not delete the data of users who delete their social media accounts, as it should, and that it does not have the means to understand how many fake accounts there are on the platform – the so-called bot, which does not belong to real people but can be traced back to software. The bots case is also relevant to the lawsuit involving Twitter and Elon Musk: the businessman in July He gave up his bid to buy Twitter, noting that the main reason is the fact that the company will hide the real number of robots, which will be much more than 5 percent of the announced total. Zatko’s attorney, John Tay, founder of the group Protecting Those Who Disclose Secret Information about Institutions and Companies, Helping Whistleblowers, said Zatko is not in contact with Musk.
Twitter has denied allegations that Zatko has been directed at him. A company spokesperson said CNN: “What has been said on Twitter and our privacy and data security practices is wrong, full of inaccurate information, and lacking important background information. Zatko’s accusations and their opportunistic timing appear designed to attract attention and harm Twitter, its customers, and its contributors.”
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