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'Twitter prioritises profit over security': Whistleblower Zatko to US Congress

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Twitter’s former security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko told US Congress on Tuesday (September 13) that at least one agent from China’s intelligence service was on Twitter’s payroll and that the company also allowed India to add its agents to the company.

This gave China and India access to sensitive user data, he claimed.

Zatko, a respected cybersecurity expert, and Twitter whistleblower appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to lay out his allegations against Twitter.

He said Twitter has weak cyber security defences that make it vulnerable to exploitation by “teenagers, thieves and spies” and added that users’ privacy is thus put at risk.

Also read: Twitter whistleblower cites security flaws before Congress

“I am here today because Twitter leadership is misleading the public, lawmakers, regulators and even its own board of directors,” said Zatko.

“They don’t know what data they have, where it lives and where it came from and so, unsurprisingly, they can’t protect it. It doesn’t matter who has keys if there are no locks,” he added.

According to Zatko, Twitter leadership “ignored” their engineers because their “executive incentives led them to prioritize profit over security”.

Also read: Twitter whistleblower bringing security warnings to Congress

Twitter in response said that its hiring process is independent of any foreign influence and that access to data is managed through a host of measures including background checks, access controls and monitoring and detection systems and processes.

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