Twitter: ex-manager accuses the short message service of insufficient IT security

A former security chief of Twitter accuses the online service of insufficient measures to protect users. Peiter Zatko, who was fired from the company in January, filed a whistleblowing complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Zatko’s complaint paints a picture of chaos and mismanagement within the company, according to media reports. Leading managers are also said to have tried to cover up serious security gaps.

Zatko’s points of criticism also include the fact that too many Twitter employees have access to central systems of the service and user data such as telephone numbers. That would fit roughly with an incident in July 2020 in which numerous Twitter accounts were hacked, including those of celebrities such as Barack Obama, Elon Musk or Kanye West. At that time, the attackers were able to abuse the apparently extensive internal access of Twitter employees for their attack.

Twitter rejected the allegations and in return accused Zatko of wanting to harm his former employer with the allegations.

The complaint, which had already been filed in July, became known on Tuesday after the TV station CNN

Allegations could influence dispute between Twitter and Elon Musk

One of the allegations von Zatko could also play a role in the current struggle between Twitter and tech billionaire Elon Musk. He claims the company has no reliable methods to determine the number of fake accounts on the platform. Musk made the issue of fake profiles and automated bot accounts a central argument in his bid to rake in roughly 44 billion dollars to get out of a serious Twitter takeover. Twitter wants the court to have Musk compelled to go through with the deal.

Twitter has been estimating for years that the number of fake accounts is less than five percent. Musk claims there must be a lot more – and accuses the company of denying him access to data to prove it. At the same time, Twitter always made it clear that the number was only based on an estimate and also stated that one million fake profiles were deleted every day.

A Twitter spokeswoman told the »Washington Post« and CNN, Although the company does not have access to Zatko’s detailed allegations, according to previous knowledge, these contained many “inaccuracies”. Twitter continues to stand by the statements made so far and Zatko was fired for “poor performance”.

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