Twitter has named famed hacker Peiter “Mudge” Zatko as its new head of security a few months after the microblogging site revealed a massive cryptocurrency hack that compromised several high-profile accounts.
Known more widely by his hacker name “Mudge,” Zatko most recently worked as head of security at the digital payments startup Stripe, according to a report in Engadget on Tuesday.
“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 said in a tweet late on Monday.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also responded to the tweet, saying, “Welcome, Mudge!”
Zatko served as a member of the high-profile hacker think tank the L0pht as well as the computer and culture hacking cooperative the Cult of the Dead Cow, a hacking group that shot into prominence for releasing Windows hacking tools with the aim of compelling Microsoft into improving security.
Almost a decade ago, he accepted a position as a programme manager at Pentagon’s famed Defense Advanced Research and Projects Agency (DARPA) where he oversaw cyber security research.
He later also worked for Google in their Advanced Technology & Projects division.
His appointment as Twitter’s head of security gains significance in view of the massive crypto hack that the site had to deal with in July.
Twitter said that the “social engineering” that occurred on July 15 targeted a small number of employees through a phone spear phishing attack.
The attackers targeted 130 Twitter accounts, ultimately Tweeting from 45, accessing the DM (Direct Message) inbox of 36, and downloading the Twitter Data of 7.
The accounts of major public figures including Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and then-presidential candidate Joe Biden were simultaneously compromised by attackers to spread a cryptocurrency scam.