The former head of Twitter’s security department and now a hacker and cyber security expert Peter Zatko testifies that the social network hides the real number of bots among its users. The company is covering up its own negligence and misleading federal regulators about the real number of bots on the platform, he said, reports The Verge.
The allegations could have devastating consequences for the company, including huge fines and a review of Elon Musk’s bid to buy Twitter. Peter Zatko was fired from the company in January of this year. He says it was revenge for his unwillingness to keep quiet about vulnerabilities in the company.
Last month, Zatko filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing Twitter of defrauding shareholders and breaching its security standards agreement. In an interview with CNN, he explained that he joined Twitter in 2020, after the social network was hacked and many influencers’ accounts were compromised.
Then the expert believed that the platform was critically important for the world. However, he later became disillusioned with the company due to the CEO’s reluctance to fix numerous security flaws.
#BREAK A former Twitter executive, its head of security, has turned whistleblower.
He alleges grave security problems at the company that he says are a risk to national security and democracy.
His first TV interview here:https://t.co/QU823RBnN1 pic.twitter.com/krh7WVOrhe
— Donie O'Sullivan (@donie) August 23, 2022
The main accusations made by Peter Zatko:
- Too many Twitter employees (about 7,000) have access to sensitive user data and internal software
- The company is misleading the Federal Trade Commission and making false statements
- Twitter ignores bots, claiming only 5% and unwilling to remove them
- The company has government agents who can work to suppress protest and dissent. For example, Zatko alleges that the Indian government forced Twitter to hire a government agent with access to user data
- User data was not deleted properly because it was quite difficult to track their placement in many places and delete data from all of them. Only recently has the social network started doing it right.
Zatko’s complaint coincides with allegations by Elon Musk, who seeks to change the terms of the company’s acquisition, citing bots. It is not known whether this will affect the legal proceedings, however, could clearly help Musk gain public favor.