The New York Times is reporting Elon Musk and Twitter Reach Deal for Sale. Twitter has agreed to be taken over at $54.20 a share, a 38 percent premium over the share price when it was revealed Mr. Musk has been buying up the company’s stock. Elon Musk had this to say:
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Mr. Musk said in a statement announcing the deal. “Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
Dan DeMichele, VP Product Management at LastPass:
“Ransomware threat actors have upped their game. They are more sophisticated than before, with a host of attack methods and techniques to throw at us and catch us off guard. It’s yet another urgent reminder that the age of internet innocence is done and it’s time for each of us to step up and play our part in building our defences as cybercriminals look to exploit any chink in our cybersecurity armour. I urge individuals to remember that it is more critical than ever to have multiple lines of defence to safely secure your online data. As the pandemic shifted every aspect of our online behaviour – from the way we work, go to school, shop and play – our sensitive information is at further risk than ever before.
“Securing your data online – whether it be for the individual consumer or for IT teams at a business – is mission critical. While businesses have taken the multi-thousand-to-million-dollar risk of a breach seriously, the average person doesn’t yet understand just how at risk their personal information is, and how that information acts as a turnkey for hackers into their finances and other sensitive data. Education is paramount and the answer to creating cybersecurity resilience lies in our people. Against a tide of relentless and evolving hack attacks, each individual needs to have their finger on the pulse. Robust cybersecurity practice concerns each of us so we all need to be able to follow simple but effective everyday practices to secure our digital lives. At the end of the day a company’s cybersecurity approach is only ever as strong as its employee’s weakest password.”
Much of the focus around Elon Musk\’s takeover of Twitter has been centered on how he will treat speech on the platform. But at least two of the changes he has proposed actually have bigger implications for cybersecurity.
The first is his promise to make Twitter\’s algorithm open source so that users can see the code that determines what is surfaced in their timelines. The decision to open-source this code likely means that it will be adopted by other social platforms, advertisers, and others who are looking to hone their user targeting. Of course, as with any widely adopted open source code, there are significant security implications. As we\’ve seen with Log4Shell and Spring4Shell, vulnerabilities in widely used open source applications are exponentially more valuable. Making its code open source may increase transparency for Twitter users, but it may also make Twitter a much bigger target for attackers.
The other reform Musk proposes may actually lean in the other direction. Musk has stated that he\’s on a mission to eliminate bots on the platform. While this seems like a Sisyphean task, if he\’s successful, the methods used by Twitter to eliminate bots from the platform may generate new techniques that improve the detection and identification of spam emails, spam posts, and other malicious intrusion attempts. If Musk and his team can train AI to be more effective in combating this, it may well be a boon to security practitioners everywhere.
With the human element being the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain, I applaud the intent to enhance authentication on the Twitter platform. This change can\’t come soon enough and will greatly impact spam bots and other modes of false information.
Twitter, along with other notable big tech platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Amazon, have for years engaged in such tactics as shadow-banning, censoring, cancelling, and de-platforming anyone or any group that went against their prescribed ideology. Their claims of doing such ranged from cries of “saving democracy” to “fake news” or that reports were from “foreign interference”, have raised collective eyebrows for quite some time. This has been noticed by all but those who refuse to look beyond the borders of the DC beltway or large metropolitan coastal cities.
Funnily enough, these same beltway broadcasters and tech giants who have trumpeted their dismay for Elon Musk – who is a huge free speech advocate – in taking over such a prominent information conduit as Twitter, had little to no rebuke when Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, purchased the Washington Post. Since these tech giants have rapidly expanded the size of the market square, ideology should have no place in determining what can be said and who can be heard.