Twitter executives were scrambling late last week after the revelation that the platform's source code had been live and publicly available for download on the developer collaboration platform GitHub.
As the New York Times reports, the leak of Twitter's source code — the code base upon which the entire platform functions — appears to have happened several months ago, i.e. during the mass resignations and layoffs at the company by new owner Elon Musk. But, "executives were only recently made aware of the source code leak."
GitHub has taken the code posting offline, and Twitter execs have begun an investigation into the leak. The company has, per the Times, asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to order GitHub to reveal the identity of the leaker — who went by the handle FreeSpeechEnthusiast, a play on Musk's declaration last year that he was a "free speech absolutist."
Lukasz Olejnik, an independent cybersecurity researcher and consultant, tells the Associated Press that it's not clear whether the leak poses an immediate security risk for Twitter. But as the Times notes, the leak "could give competitors an unfair advantage or reveal security vulnerabilities [to hackers]."
As Olejnik tells the AP, "It highlights the broader problem of Big Tech, which is insider risk."
"One of the best ways to mitigate insider risk is to keep your employees happy and that certainly hasn’t been the case at Twitter," says cybersecurity threat analyst Brett Callow, speaking to the Times.
It seems clear enough that the leak was made by a disgruntled former employee who left the company late last year, either by choice or not.
The Times also notes that Musk sent out an internal memo on Friday informing employees that Twitter was now worth $20 billion, or half of what he paid for it in October. But, Musk said in his memo, it could be thought of as an "inverse startup," and he believes it could be worth $250 billion in a few years.
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