Twitter whistleblower is taking the indictments to the Senate

(Washington) Peiter Zatko, former Twitter security chief-turned-whistleblower, explained his allegations of the social network’s severe vulnerability to American senators on Tuesday during a hearing closely followed in connection with the dispute between Twitter and Elon Musk.

Posted at 12:01

“Twitter management is deceiving elected officials, regulators and even its own board of directors,” said the cybersecurity expert, better known by his alias Mudge.

As the platform’s security chief, he claims to have uncovered serious vulnerabilities from his hiring in late 2020 until he was fired last January, and says he tried to alert management to no avail.

“They don’t know what data they have, where they are, where they’re coming from. And that’s why they can’t protect them, of course,” said Peiter Zatko in his opening speech to the Judiciary Committee.

“Employees have too much access […] It doesn’t matter who has the keys if you don’t have locks on the doors,” he said.

At the end of August, the exposure of the report that he submitted to the American authorities that summer received a bombshell from the press.

His intervention was timely for multi-billionaire Elon Musk, who used it to justify his abandonment of a plan to acquire the Californian company for $44 billion.

Especially since Peiter Zatko directly mentions the questions that the Tesla boss asked on automated Twitter accounts in his report. He cites “misleading” statements by network boss Parag Agrawal and claims Twitter’s tools are “outdated”, its teams “overwhelmed” and “inefficient”.

Elon Musk – who launched an offensive to take over the platform in mid-April – has been hammering for months that he believes the proportion of fake accounts and spam far exceeds the 5% estimated by Twitter management.

The social network has filed lawsuits against Elon Musk to force him to honor his acquisition commitment. A trial before a specialized court is scheduled for mid-October.

On Tuesday, shareholders of the San Francisco-based company must vote on the agreement signed in late April to acquire Twitter at $54.20 per share or a total valuation of $44 billion.

“I did not make my whistleblower disclosures out of spite or to harm Twitter,” Mudge assured senators Tuesday.

“Given the real harm to users and national security, I decided it was necessary to take the personal and professional risk for myself and my family to sound the alarm,” he explained.

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