October 6, 2022

Twitter Whistleblower Reveals Company Concealed “Extreme, Egregious, Deficiencies”; Musk Subpoenas Dorsey & Ex-Security Chief

This revelation could provide Musk an ‘out’ on the deal as he could declare the security flaws are a crystal clear material adverse change towards the company.

Update (0945ET):   Twitter CEO  Parag Agrawal has sent a message to staff this morning regarding WaPo’s  whistleblower story, according to  CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan .  

Agrawal’s information to staff reads:

Group,

There are news reports outlining claims about Twitter’s personal privacy, security, and data security practices that were made by Mudge Zatko, a former Twitter professional who was terminated in The month of january 2022 for ineffective leadership and poor performance. We are reviewing the redacted statements that have been published, but exactly what we’ve seen so far is a false narrative that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and presented without important context.

I know this is frustrating and confusing to read, given Mudge was accountable for many aspects of this work that he has become inaccurately portraying more than six months after his termination. Yet none of this takes away through the important work you have done and continue to do to safeguard the privacy and security of our customers and their particular data. This year alone, we have meaningfully accelerated our improvement through increased focus plus incredible leadership from Lea Kissner, Damien Kieran, plus Nick Caldwell. This work continues to be an important priority for all of us, and if you want to read more regarding our approach, you can find an overview here.

Given the limelight on Twitter at the moment, we can assume that we will continue to notice more headlines in the arriving days — this will just make our work harder. I know that all of you have a lot of pride in the work we do together and the values that manual us. We will pursue all of paths to defend our honesty as a company and set the record straight.

See you all of the at « OneTeam the next day,

Parag

* * * 

Update (0850ET):   Following the Washington Post’s story within the Twitter whistleblower complaint, Elon Musk’s legal team mentioned they want to interview the former head of security Peiter Zatko.  

CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan tweeted moments ago that Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro wants to talk to the Twitter whistleblower:

“ We have already issued the subpoena for Mr. Zatko, and we found his exit and that of other essential employees curious in light of what we have been finding. ”

2. * * 

One day after Elon Musk’s legal team subpoenaed previous Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey as part of an ongoing effort to fight a lawsuit by the social networking company to force the billionaire to move forward with the $44 billion acquisition offer.   The Washington Post   released a new report  alleging executives deceived federal regulators and the company’s board regarding “ extreme, egregious deficiencies” to combat hackers.  

WaPo cited a whistleblower problem from the former head of security Peiter Zatko which said some of the company’s web servers are running out-of-date software program, and executives withheld vital information about data breaches. Bezo’s news outlet interviewed greater than a dozen current and former employees about past insufficiencies.  

The complaint was filed final month with the SEC, DoJ, and FTC. It stated thousands of employees had entry to core company software, which usually led to data breaches and hacks of high-profile customers.

WaPo said the whistleblower document alleges executives prioritized user growth over reducing spam and rewarded executives cash bonus deals up to $10 million to increase the number of daily users.  

The complaint noted Chief Executive Parag Agrawal was “ lying” when he said in May the company was “ strongly incentivized to detect and remove as much spam as we possibly can. ”  

In a WaPo interview, Zatko said his decision in order to reveal Twitter’s failures to the public is an extension associated with his previous work revealing security flaws within the business.  

“ I actually felt ethically bound. This is not a light step to take, ”   said Zatko, who was fired by Agrawal in January. He dropped to discuss what happened at Twitter, except to stand by the formal complaint. Under SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION’S whistleblower rules, he is entitled to legal protection against retaliation, as well as potential monetary rewards. -WaPo 

A company spokeswoman, Rebecca Hahn, told WaPo that Zatko’s allegations are “ riddled with inaccuracies”   and that “ security and privacy have always been top companywide priorities on Twitter. ”

Twitter also said Zatko was fired from his senior executive role at the company earlier this year for ineffective leadership and poor efficiency.  

Regarding the allegations about spam bots, something Musk’s legal group is requesting documents in the company. Hahn said Twitter removes more than a million junk e-mail accounts every day.  

Shares of Twitter dropped as much as 4. 5% on the news.  

This revelation could offer Musk an ‘ out’ around the deal as he could claim the security flaws are a very clear material adverse change towards the company; and as opposed to only a lower price, this could terminate the offer entirely –   benefiting anyone who didn’t would like Musk to obtain the social media organization.  


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