A former security chief at Twitter told Congress on Tuesday that the social platform is plagued by weak cyber defences, privacy threats and the inability to control millions of fake accounts. Peter “Mudge” Zatko, a respected cybersecurity expert, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to lay out his allegations.
“Twitter’s misleading the public, lawmakers” and regulators, Zatko said as he began his sworn testimony. The platform is “over a decade behind the industry’s best standard,” he said. “This is a big deal for all of us.” “It doesn’t matter who has keys if there are no locks,” Zatko said.
Zatko was the head of security for the influential platform until he was fired early this year. He filed a whistleblower complaint in July with Congress, the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Among his most serious accusations is that Twitter violated the terms of a 2011 FTC settlement by falsely claiming that it had put stronger measures in place to protect the security and privacy of its users.
Senators are clearly alarmed.
Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who heads the Judiciary Committee, said Zatko has detailed flaws “that may pose a direct threat to Twitter’s hundreds of millions of users as well as to American democracy.” “Twitter is an immensely powerful platform and can’t afford gaping vulnerabilities,” he said.
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