Twitter whistleblower claims make Elon Musk’s lax acquisition due diligence look worse | Panda Anku

Elon Musk’s rush to acquire Twitter for $44 billion was already looking like a bad decision. Now his decision to forgo due diligence looks akin to disaster.

CNN and The Washington Post reported on Tuesday about a whistleblower complaint filed against Twitter by the company’s former security chief, a well-respected veteran of Silicon Valley and Washington’s defense circles. Whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko alleges that Twitter executives misled federal agencies and board members about major security flaws across the company, putting the sensitive data of 238 million daily active users — including political figures and dissidents — within the reach of hackers reached.

Twitter firmly denied the allegations in statements to both media outlets, portraying Zatko as an opportunistic, disgruntled employee who was fired after 15 months for his “poor performance and leadership.” Company officials added that many of Zatko’s allegations were “riddled with inaccuracies,” although they did not refute his claims point by point.

At this point it’s way too early to pass judgment on the validity of Zatko’s numerous allegations, many of which center on Twitter’s failure to implement basic security protocols and withholding information that would reveal these flaws.

Zatko, a former Pentagon and Google cybersecurity official, ranks among the most respected executives in the industry and lends him tremendous credibility. Twitter has also endured several embarrassing hacks in recent years, reinforcing Zatko’s claims of lax cybersecurity oversight. Nonetheless, many of Zatko’s claims involve highly technical matters that require extensive investigation.

It’s also too early to know if Zatko’s claims — if proven true — could or would derail Musk’s impulsive deal to buy Twitter back in April.

The complaint certainly supports Musk’s attempt to get out of business, ostensibly due to his belief that Twitter misled him about the company’s value by underestimating the proliferation of spam bots on the platform. (Musk cynics argue he’s just pissed because he may be overpaying billions of dollars for Twitter.)

However, Zatko’s allegations may not reach the legal threshold for rescinding the agreement, which requires proof that Twitter made false statements that would have a “material adverse impact” on the company. Musk also has little time to scrutinize Zatko’s claims ahead of an expedited trial scheduled for mid-October, in which a Delaware law firm judge will decide whether Musk has reasons to oppose the acquisition or whether he must go through with the acquisition. Zatko was subpoenaed as part of that proceeding, a lawyer for Musk told CNN.

Still, it’s not too early to say that Musk could, in all likelihood, have decided against buying the company or gone for a much better deal if he’d performed standard due diligence.

If Musk had found a collection of lawyers and investigators on Twitter, he might very well have uncovered some or all of the allegations made by Zatko. An attorney representing Zatko said the whistleblower complaints process began before Musk’s interest in buying Twitter became public, but his client had no contact with Musk, CNN reported.

Although it is unclear whether Zatko during a During the pre-deal due diligence, Twitter’s former security chief doesn’t exactly try to hide his frustration with the company.

Additionally, Zatko harbored some of Musk’s suspicions about Twitter underestimating the number of bots on the platform. In his complaint, Zatko wrote that he believed that “management had no appetite to properly measure bot proliferation,” in part because accurate measurements would “damage the company’s image and valuation.” (Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted May that the company “has a strong incentive to detect and remove as much spam as possible,” noting that fake accounts hurt users’ experience on the platform.)

Maybe just as important that postZatko’s reporting shows that several current and former employees agree with at least some of Zatko’s claims. Together, their accounts portray Twitter as a mismanaged mess of an organization, contributing to serious security concerns.

The coming months will show just how costly Musk’s omission of due diligence will be for the world’s richest man. Musk could still wriggle out of business, maybe with a little help from Zatko. But when a judge forces Musk to overpay grossly for a company riddled with security, management, and spam bot problems, he has only himself to blame.

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Jacob Zimmerman

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Rip off BeReal? Instagram tests a new feature that mirrors the core functionality the BeReal app, the latest example of a Meta Division that replicates the defining trait of an up-and-coming rival. A developer recently discovered the feature called IG Candid Challenges, which asks users to take a picture and post it on the social media platform at a different time each day. Instagram officials said the feature is an “internal prototype” that external users cannot access for now. BeReal ranked as the most downloaded free app in Apple’s App Store on Tuesday.

A short-circuited scheme. A former Apple employee pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets on Monday related to autonomous vehicles being developed by the tech giant. That’s what federal officials said Xiaolang Zhangwho designed and tested circuit boards for Apple’s self-driving car project stole schematics and hardware from Apple facilities in 2018. Zhang planned to go to work for one Alibaba-backed electric vehicle startup in China, where government and corporate leaders have been repeatedly accused by US officials of stealing American trade secrets.

Slow down a bit. zoom Shares fell 16% in midday trade on Tuesday after the video conferencing company has reduced the outlook for the current financial year, reported CNBC. Zoom officials said they are now forecasting revenue of $4.39 billion to $4.4 billion for the fiscal year ending January 2023, up from May estimates of $4.53 billion to $4.55 billion. Company executives attributed the cut to global economic conditions, while some analysts have warned of growing competition in the industry.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

Better order more pink panties. fords Monday’s announcement of major layoffs could become a common occurrence in the rapid shift to electric vehicles. Insider reported Tuesday that auto industry observers expect automakers will need to drastically reallocate human capital in the coming years as they adapt to manufacturing electric vehicles. Various estimates suggest tens of thousands of jobs could be lost in the US and Europe, in part because electric vehicles require fewer parts to assemble. Ultimately, while some of these employees could switch to work on EV batteries and components, analysts are predicting a net decrease in the number of employees in the automotive industry due to the switch.

Of the article:

While no one can predict the precise contours of the burgeoning EV revolution, it seems that technological change will disrupt car manufacturing and employment as much as it will overtake the makeup of roads and highways.

“We have absolutely too many people in some places, there’s no doubt about it,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said on a recent conference call. “We have skills that no longer work and we have jobs that need to change.”

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BEFORE YOU GO

Couldn’t even call? Here it can be assumed that this was not a “new phone, who dis” situation. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the Federal Trade Commission was never a usual heads-up to Meta that the agency was suing to stop Facebook and Instagram’s parents’ purchase of a virtual reality fitness app developer — a case that could change the tech mergers and acquisitions landscape for years to come. FTC officials also opted not to obtain sworn testimony from meta-officials prior to filing, another break in tradition. The stealth moves add to the perception that the FTC Chairman Lina Khan tends to be controversial with tech giants, which it has accused in the past of accumulating power through anti-competitive acquisitions. So how did Meta learn that the FTC is filing the lawsuit? Just like the public: on Twitter.

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