Twitter hires hacker ‘Mudge’ as head of security

Protect yourself from online attacks that threaten your identity, your files, your system, and your financial well-being.

Twitter is beefing up its security team.

The social media company announced on Monday it is hiring computer hacker Peiter Zatko, better known as “Mudge.” Zatko confirmed on Twitter Monday that he will be “joining the executive team” to assess potential security threats on the platform.

“Looks like the cat is out of the bag,” Zatko wrote. “I’m very excited to be joining the executive team at Twitter! I truly believe in the mission of (equitably) serving the public conversation. I will do my best!”

Zatko, who helped expose a security vulnerability known as “buffer overflow” in 1995 and was once was part of a team that advised former President Bill Clinton, has considerable experience in assisting the government in building infrastructure to identify cyberthreats.

While working for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research and Projects Agency, commonly known as DARPA, Zatko created the Cyber Analytical Framework, a mapping of “enable consistent characterization and categorization of cyber threat events.”

Dan Kaufman, who supervised Zatko during his time at DARPA, said Zatko would be at “the top” of his list of candidates for the job but said he was unsure “if anyone can fix Twitter’s security,” which has been marred by a number of high-profile security breaches, including one event in July when hackers gained access to the profiles of top users, including President-elect Joe Biden.

Zatko told NBC News he will “examine information security, site integrity, physical security, platform integrity — which starts to touch on abuse and manipulation of the platform — and engineering.”

Zatko will report directly to CEO Jack Dorsey, who testified before a Senate hearing focused on allegations of…