Twitter hires famed hacker to overhaul platform security

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Twitter is hiring one of the world’s best-known hackers to secure its platform from security breaches.

The social network this week named Peiter Zatko, better known by his hacker handle Mudge, as head of security. Zatko will have a broad mandate to overhaul the company’s practices, and will officially take the reins following a 45- to 60-day review.

Zatko’s hiring comes months after Twitter saw some of its highest profile accounts — including those of President-elect Joe Biden, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett — fall victim to a bitcoin scam.

The hacker extraordinaire told Reuters in an interview that he will pay special attention to Twitter’s physical security and platform integrity, among other areas, as well as help it combat manipulation of its platform.

Zatko most recently oversaw security at the electronic payments unicorn Stripe. Before that, he worked on special projects at Google and oversaw handing out grants for projects on cybersecurity at the Pentagon’s famed Defense Advanced Research and Projects Agency (DARPA).

He told Reuters that he was also interested in Twitter’s ongoing efforts to improve public conversations and reduce the spread of misinformation, praising the company’s recent move to add friction to the retweet process by prompting users to read a story before sharing it.

A next step could be to force people to understand a long conversation before participating in it, he said, Zatko said.

Also on Tuesday, the social media giant rolled out a new tool called fleets, which allows users to post photos or text that will disappear in 24 hours. Fleets are similar to stories, which have been a stable on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat for years.

With Post wires 

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