Famous Hacker Is Twitter's New Security Chief

Peiter Zatko is better known as 'Mudge'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2020 6:30 PM CST
Updated Nov 17, 2020 2:05 AM CST
Famous Hacker Is Twitter's New Security Chief
Zatko's government photo from when he was employed by the Pentagon.   (US Government)

Months after one of the worst hacks in social media history, Twitter has hired a new security chief who definitely knows how to spot weaknesses. Peiter Zatko, a famous hacker better known as "Mudge," is the company's new head of security, and he has been given a broad mandate to make big changes, reports Reuters. He is expected to take over security in 45 to 60 days after a security review has been completed, the Hill reports. Zatko, who has worked for Google and the Pentagon, testified to Congress in 1998 as part of the hacker collective L0pht about Internet security vulnerabilities. He was also part of the Cult of the Dead Cow, a hacking "supergroup" that assisted foreign dissidents and pressured Microsoft to fix security flaws.

In July, hackers took control of the Twitter accounts of high-profile users including Joe Biden, Elon Musk, and Kanye West and tried to fool people into sending them money. The alleged mastermind is 17 years old. The data breach "was an important reminder of how far Twitter needs to go in building some of the basic security functions necessary to run a service targeted by adversaries much more skilled than the teenagers arrested for that incident,” former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos tells Reuters. He adds that Twitter needs to find "creative solutions" to its security issues, and that "if Mudge is famous for anything in security, it is being creative." (More Twitter stories.)

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