Twitter agreed to a $7 million payment with whistleblower Pieter Zatko in June, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The settlement included a nondisclosure clause.
Zatko, known online as "Mudge," was able to file a whistleblower complaint despite a severance agreement condition not to denigrate Twitter or speak publicly about his time there, the WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the situation. In an Aug. 30 letter to the SEC, Twitter's lawyers disputed Zatko's statements as "riddled with contradictions and falsehoods."
Zatko first contacted Whistleblower Aid in March, three months before his settlement with Twitter. CNN and The Washington Post released Zatko's complaint on Aug. 23.
Zatko reportedly bargained hard during settlement negotiations, at one point boosting his initial demands by five times. Zatko, appointed in late 2020 in reaction to a significant Twitter security incident, was sacked for "ineffective leadership and poor performance," according to the WSJ.
A potentially major development in this case has been the whistleblower case from Zatko which could give Musk a much needed small victory. We believe with the Zatko situation being a potential Pandora's box for Twitter it could force both to the negotiating table before court
— Dan Ives (@DivesTech) August 30, 2022
Zatko rose to notoriety in the 1990s with the L0pht group, according to the WSJ. In 1998, they warned Congress that the internet was so vulnerable they could shut it down in 30 minutes.
According to the WSJ, L0pht organization was also a pioneer in publishing firms' faults and security problems to compel them into fixing them. The problematic practice is now standard in cybersecurity.
Tarah Wheeler, CEO of security firm Red Queen Dynamics Inc, told the WSJ “Mudge is respected in the policy community for bringing clear explanations of what matters in tech to policy makers,” “He’s ethical, careful and sees the bigger picture.”
Zatko uncovered various security weaknesses, including the fact that most Twitter employees could access user data and executives withheld flaws from Twitter's board. In his whistleblower report, he accused former CEO Jack Dorsey of attending meetings "sporadically" and not weighing in on "complicated company matters."
Twitter didn't comment for DCNF.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on DAILY CALLER.