Is a Twitter data breach more likely after Elon Musk completed the acquisition of the platform?
In dramatic fashion, the wealthiest man in the world bought Twitter at the end of October 2022. After initially intending to buy the platform, Musk cancelled the acquisition last minute. Yet, after some lawsuits, he was forced to proceed with the buying of the platform. The acquisition had an immediate impact on the platform and far beyond.
While it seems to be more of a reality soap, the consequences of the developments at Twitter are very real for the users of the platform. What has happened thus far, and how does this influence the chances of a Twitter data breach?
What happened? A timeline of events surrounding Twitter
A lot of things have happened both before and after the acquisition of Twitter. Both sides of the story provide a deep dive in the security issues that have been going on at the platform. Can they be overcome with a new owner like Musk?
Events before acquisition
It all started in April of 2022, when Elon Musk announced he was in possession of 9% of the total shares of the Twitter platform. The company was quick to offer him a board position, but he declined.
He stated that he wanted to apply free speech principles to the platform, which were mismanaged at that point according to him. Musk stated: “The company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form,” he wrote. “Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.” He thought that he could do it himself, so he offered a tempting price to buy the platform.
However, when Musk looked a bit better into the platform he was about to buy for 44 billion dollars, he made some new discoveries. He wasn’t happy with the amount of bots on the platform, deciding to put the deal on hold. Since the deal was technically signed, Twitter went into a legal battle with Musk. Eventually, the deal was forced to continue.
In the meantime, another lawsuit surrounding the actual security of the platform emerged. A whistleblower testified that the cybersecurity at Twitter is well below industry average. Actually, it’s about 10 years behind, stating that any employee can easily take over any account.
Events after acquisition
Relatively soon after buying the platform, Musk fired a vast amount of people. His reasoning was simply that they were too expensive to contain the platform in the form that he wanted it to be. Yet, did he know that all the knowledge would be gone, too?
So first, Musk fired half of Twitter’s workers, after which he threatened to fire any remaining dissenters. For the people that remained at Twitter, he set an ultimatum to accept working more hours at higher intensity. Unsatisfied with this demand, another 1200 employees left the company.
Is a Twitter data breach more likely?
Although around a million users left Twitter after the acquisition, the total amount of users is still growing every day. This means that there is more data provided to the platform. Data that is vulnerable when a Twitter data breach takes place. But, how more likely is the succeeding of such events after Musk bought the platform?
Does Musk want to keep users safe?
The question remains if the private company that Musk wants to establish is better able to cherish privacy principles, avoiding a potential Twitter security breach. Indeed, if there is a focus on privacy, it might well be. Yet, it doesn’t seem that this was of the highest priority when talking about the potential of the platform.
As the chaos mounts, the new owner is likely to have a different focus. Mostly, keeping the platform running and providing for its current users. A consequence for the everyday processes that take place at the company could be a decreased attention for digital security.
Indeed, after the employee exodus, fewer dedicated staffers are available who can work to defend Twitter security breaches. This could put the company and its users at increased risk of a massive data breach, or worse.
Whistleblower and Twitter security breach
As indicated earlier, just before Musk bought the platform, it became evident that the security situation isn’t great at this moment either. After a testimony from the former security officer, it is certain that the company already had security issues before Musk took over. With fewer people able to protect the privacy of the people, it seems like the situation has only gotten worse since.
This, too, is affirmed in a note posted to Twitter’s Slack and viewable to all staff. An attorney on the company’s privacy team wrote, “Elon has shown that his only priority with Twitter users is how to monetize them. I do not believe he cares about the human rights activists. the dissidents, our users in un-monetizable regions, and all the other users who have made Twitter the global town square you have all spent so long building, and we all love.”
Ironically, the platform that is supposed to make communications and free speech easier has gotten rid of its own communication department. This basically means that no complaints can be made, and no user feedback can be implemented.
What consequences are there for a potential Twitter data breach?
If we look at the consequences of a potential data breach, it should be noted that this is more than just exposing the tweets of private accounts. Especially with the increasing presence of paid services on the platform, the possibility of leaked credit card details is increasingly probable. That is, of course, besides the ‘normal’ personal data that can be gathered
There is always the danger of what hackers can do with the data on a personal level. In short, it comes down to the following:
- Hackers can sell the data to other criminals, online and offline;
- Stolen personal information can be used for identity theft;
- Login details are needed for account takeover;
- Stolen data is used to target phishing attacks and extortion.
How to increase your online privacy?
Many of the privacy in relation to platforms like Twitter comes down to policy of the company. Yet, there is also a role for the individual that is often underestimated. Interested in devices to secure your online privacy?
[button size=”medium” style=”primary” text=”Go to the Spy-Fy shop” link=”https://spy-fy.com/shop/””]