Twitter names famed hacker ‘Mudge’ as head of security

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Peiter Zatko, widely known by his hacker handle Mudge has been given the position of Twitter's head of security

Peiter Zatko, widely known by his hacker handle Mudge has been given the position of Twitter’s head of security

Social media giant Twitter Inc, under increased threat of regulation and plagued by serious security breaches, is appointing one of the world’s best-regarded hackers to tackle everything from engineering missteps to misinformation.

The company on Monday named Peiter Zatko, widely known by his hacker handle Mudge, to the new position of head of security, giving him a broad mandate to recommend changes in structure and practices. Zatko answers to CEO Jack Dorsey and is expected to take over management of key security functions after a 45- to 60-day review.

In an exclusive interview, Zatko said 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 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).

Computer hackers from International;LOpht. a 'hacker think tank,' (left to right) Brian Oblivion,Tan,Kingpin,Mudge,Weld Pond,Space Rougue and Stefan Von Neumann testified in 1998 before the Senate Governmental Affairs hearing on government computer security

Computer hackers from International;LOpht. a ‘hacker think tank,’ (left to right) Brian Oblivion,Tan,Kingpin,Mudge,Weld Pond,Space Rougue and Stefan Von Neumann testified in 1998 before the Senate Governmental Affairs hearing on government computer security

Mudge is pictured testifying before the Senate Governmental Affairs hearing on government computer security in 1998

Mudge is pictured testifying before the Senate Governmental Affairs hearing on government computer security in 1998

Zatko’s colorful career began in the 1990s, when he simultaneously conducted classified work for a government contractor and was among the leaders of Cult of the Dead Cow, a hacking group notorious for releasing Windows hacking tools in order to goad Microsoft into improving security.

Zatko will answer directly to CEO Jack Dorsey and is expected to take over the management of key security functions

Zatko will answer directly to CEO Jack Dorsey and is expected to take over the management of key security functions

‘I don’t know if anyone can fix Twitter’s security, but he’d be at the top of my list,’ said Dan Kaufman, who supervised Zatko at DARPA and now leads the advanced products group at Google.

Stamos, who once worked for Zatko’s security consultancy, called him…

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