Former Twitter security head Peiter Zatko accuses company of multiple violations

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Twitter application on mobilephone

Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter’s former security head lodged a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. The complaint is expected to open investigations against Twitter which will now discover what it’s like to be Facebook.

According to the lawsuit, which was first reported by The Washington Post and CNN, Twitter tricked the Federal Trade Commission about its security protocols, violated SEC regulations, lied to the board of directors, and allowed foreign governments to infiltrate the platform.

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More about Peiter Zatko’s lawsuit against Twitter

In the complaint, Zatko has accused Twitter of misleading Elon Musk about bots, not securing the company’s servers, failing to inform the board of important information about breaches, and even giving in to pressure from the Indian government to hire government agents and grant them access to private information. 

Former CEO Jack Dorsey, who Zatko labels “disengaged,” and current CEO Parag Agrawal, who the lawsuit states were defensive and in denial about the company’s security weaknesses, are mostly to blame, as per Zatko.

The complaint reads,” Mudge is proceeding with these disclosures reluctantly. When ethical researchers find a vulnerability that bad actors can exploit, first they make a quiet ‘responsible disclosure’ so that the affected company or government can fix it. But sometimes the vulnerable institution doesn’t want to hear the truth.”

Has Twitter responded yet?

Zatko’s lawsuit stretches 84 pages and has already attracted questions from regulators and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Twitter didn’t respond straight away after Protocol sought a response. After being dismissed in early 2022, Twitter spokesperson Rebecca Hahn said that Zatko’s complaint was “riddled with errors” and that Zatko had “opportunistically sought to inflict harm on Twitter.”

Zatko joined the social media network shortly after a high-profile Twitter attack hacked the accounts of Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, and others in 2020. 

Democratic Senator, Dick Durbin said the accusations made by the whistleblower regarding pervasive security lapses at Twitter, intentional misrepresentations by senior officials to governmental authorities, and foreign intelligence penetration of the business raise significant red flags.

 If these allegations are true, they may expose major privacy and security issues for Twitter users worldwide.

Will this whistleblower lawsuit aid Elon Musk?

Zatko has accused Twitter amidst the company’s ongoing tiff with Elon Musk in court. Tesla’s owner has recently attempted to back out of a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. 

As things stand, it is not very clear how Musk’s legal advisors will leverage this complaint to win their case against Twitter. Up to this point, Musk has relied on claims that Twitter misled about the actual number of spam and bot accounts on its social media network, which the firm has claimed in corporate filings makeup just 5% of accounts. Musk claimed he based his bid to purchase the business on those documents.

Time will tell whether the latest whistleblower lawsuit will aid Elon Musk in his battle with Twitter. What are your thoughts on this story? Do you think Twitter is guilty? Drop your comments below and tell us what you think. 

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Feature Image Source: Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

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Karandeep is a technical content writer based out of Pune, a city in India that is also known as the Oxford of the East. His journey with writing started in 2014 when he decided to try his luck in a gaming startup as a Content Developer. Since then, he has written on a wide range of topics within the gaming and the tech space. Apart from his love for gaming, Karandeep is keeping tabs on the hottest trends in the tech industry. After completing his Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA) from Symbiosis International University, Pune, he worked as an intern in an NGO that focused on urban development.
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