Twitter’s legal battle with billionaire Elon Musk over his attempted pullback from their $44 billion purchase agreement just got even more explosive. A whistleblower compiled a report of what he called the company’s critical security flaws and sent it to Congress and several federal agencies.
And the whistleblower is not just a disgruntled and obscure company official.
Former head of security Peiter “Mudge” Zatko is very well respected in the cybersecurity field, having worked for the Defense Department, Google, and Stripe. He was brought to Twitter in 2020 after the highly publicized hacks into accounts of several major public figures.
They included Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Elon Musk.
The social media platform fired Zatko in January for what it described as poor job performance. He said he brought security issues to light and was dismissed in retaliation.
A #Whistleblower who served as #Twitter’s security chief said in regulatory filings obtained by @EpochTimes that the #BigTech company misled @ElonMusk about the number of bots on the platform, with possible implications for their ongoing legal battle. https://t.co/T46tccdOqH
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) August 23, 2022
The report showed a chaotic company that allowed far too much access to sensitive information with very little oversight. It claimed a coverup by senior management and alleged that one or more current employees may also be working for a foreign intelligence agency.
Zatko detailed his findings as “egregious deficiencies, negligence, willful ignorance, and threats to national security and democracy.”
Before his explosive report, analysts generally believed that Twitter had the upper hand in its legal battle with Musk over the purchase agreement. The new revelations, however, complicate the matter.
Zatko also alleged that the company has very little handle on the spam account and bot issue, something Musk drew attention to as he tried to walk away from the deal.
Musk’s legal team has already subpoenaed former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and another subpoena has been issued for Zatko. Attorney Alex Spiro said that they found “his exit and that of other key employees curious.”
Beyond the ramifications for the Twitter sale, security issues weigh in far more important. As with Communist China’s influence over TikTok, it is imperative for security officials to get a handle on lapses that expose millions of Americans’ private information to bad actors.