What does Musk’s takeover mean for cybersecurity?


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.