But who is the man who has been threatening Twitter so much for 24 hours? Dismissed from the company in January, he was not done with the social network. “Mudge”, real name Peiter Zatkowas one of the company’s most indispensable recruits in July 2020, when a major hack brought down the platform and many public figure profiles.
This week, the cybersecurity expert returned to the news after filed a complaint against Twitter. He denounces the chaotic management of the company on cybersecurity issues, with bad practices observed in the internal tools of the social network and an effective presence of spam and fake accounts, which Twitter would not like to solve in order to inflate its number of users.
Became head of information security for the social network in November 2020, he left his post a few weeks before Elon Musk announced a proposed takeover of the company this year. According CNN and the washington postthe two cases would have no link and the two personalities would not be related.
But Twitter’s lies go further according to Peiter Zatko’s complaint. The computer tools of the blue bird platform are judged obsolete and vulnerableto the point of leaving personal information and users in great insecurity in the face of online threats.
A gray hat
With the emergence of hackers, Peiter Zatko gave birth to a new category of cybersecurity experts capable of carrying out large-scale hacks: the gray hat. If the term had to be defined, it would have to be placed between white hat (legal and benevolent hackers) and black hat (illegal and malicious hackers).
Mudge, by his pseudonym, was therefore one of the both ethical and unethical hackers. This is why his career has led him to become a real adviser to the US Senate committee for the analysis of electronic threats within the country. He also went through training with NASA and the US Air Force. During the Bill Clinton’s second termhe also worked there on the State strategy vis-à-vis cybersecurity.
Businesses also fought for it. Before Twitter, Peiter Zatko worked for google account as Deputy Director of the “Advanced Technology and Projects” division, in 2013. Stripe, the payment fintech, also recruited him in 2017 as head of security. At that time, the company was already valued at $9 billion. At this time, Mudge was working with Jon Kaltwasser, a former NSA.
Between him and Twitter, relations remain unclear even today. Officially, Peiter Zatko was fired for “ineffective leadership and poor performance”. After the revelations about his complaint, a Twitter spokesperson commented: “Mr. Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to garner attention and inflict damage on Twitter, its customers and its shareholders. Security and privacy have long been company-wide priorities at Twitter and will continue to be.”