Zatko, former security chief: Twitter paid a Chinese spy

Zatko, ex capo della sicurezza: Twitter pagava una spia cinese thumbnail

Once upon a time, during the summer holidays, Urania science fiction novels or the Mondadori mysteries were read. Now it is enough to do a search on the engines to see how far we have come in the Twitter issue.

The story is well known, and developed by us in various articles. Elon Musk seemed close to buying the company. But then I changed my mind because, in essence, the company would have declared a percentage of spam accounts lower than the real one.

Twitter then, accusing Musk of “refusing to comply with his obligations to Twitter and its shareholders,” sued the tycoon. And the trial will be held starting next October 17, despite Musk’s attempts to postpone, rejected.

There are very recent updates on the Musk-Twitter affair, which we will return to. But the company is now also called the former head of security, Peiter Zatko. Who before the Justice Commission of the American Senate makes a series of disconcerting revelations. Let’s find out.

Zatko’s hearing in the Senate

Impossible not to go back to Frances Haugen, who last summer exhibited a series of internal Facebook documents at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Which later, first published by the Wall Street Journal and then by a series of American newspapers, started the Facebook Papers scandal.

Now it’s up to Peiter Zatko, former Twitter security chief. Who said equally fiery words to the Justice Committee of the American Senate about the company he worked for.

Twitter and the Chinese spy

One of Zatko’s most sensational revelations certainly concerns the fact that Twitter would have paid a Chinese spy. Which would have exposed user data to smartphones from other countries.

Additionally, in introducing Zatko’s hearing, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said, “We have learned that Twitter users’ personal data has been potentially exposed to foreign intelligence agencies. For example, his revelations indicate that India has been able to place at least two alleged foreign assets within Twitter ”.

Security systems back 10 years

And the memory comes back to Frances Haugen again when, in strikingly similar words, Peiter Zatko said that Twitter has always placed more emphasis on profit than on the security of its users’ data.

Zatko, officially dismissed in January for poor performance, has made multiple accusations. Twitter allegedly lied to its customers, but also to regulators, by not securely deleting deleted account data.

But there is more: on the vulnerabilities of the security system, which would have exposed the company to hacker attacks, the management would not have told the truth even to their board of directors.

And speaking of the security system, Zatko said: “When I joined I found that the company was ten years behind on some essential security aspects and was not making significant progress. It was like a time bomb. “

Falsehood on the number of bots

The Chinese Twitter spy would be just one of the problems reported by Zatko.

Another controversial aspect made Musk’s ears perk (and it is precisely the argument behind the choice of Tesla’s number one to renounce the acquisition of the company).

The former head of security has in fact stated that Twitter executives have neither the resources nor a real interest in knowing the number of bots and spam (in short: of fake accounts) on the platform.

Musk even called Zatko to testify at the trial which begins on October 17.

Meanwhile, between Twitter and Musk …

We told you that the Twitter-Musk controversy is always a harbinger of new surprises.

In addition to the sensational statements of Peiter Zatko in the Senate, in addition to the presence of a Chinese spy on Twitter and its antiquated security systems, there has been an equally sensational new chapter between the company and the owner of Space X.

Bloomberg revealed that Twitter shareholders approved Elon Musk’s $ 44 billion takeover bid.

But it is an approval now out of time: in October it will go to trial. And, given Zatko’s statements, Musk’s position looks increasingly solid.

Although Twitter has dismissed the figure of Zatko calling him “a former employee fired for the low standard who is now seeking revenge.”