The Twitter takedown: How a teen rocked the cybersecurity world and why this can never happen again

September 14, 2020 Caleb Barlow

The Twitter takedown

Recently, two teens and a young adult infiltrated one of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies in a high-profile hack – and the biggest ever for Twitter. Authorities say the 17-year-old “mastermind” used social engineering tactics to convince a Twitter employee that he also worked in the IT department and gained access to Twitter’s Customer Service Portal. The 130-account takeover proved unique, as it was fundamentally a dramatic manipulation of trust and could have had far more world-changing consequences if the attackers had the aspirations of say, a dangerous fringe group versus that of a teenager. There are a few takeaways to learn here, especially when it comes to considering redefining what we classify as “critical infrastructure” and what must be protected at all costs.

Caleb Barlow, CEO of CynergisTek covers offers actionable takeaways on ensuring companies keep sensitive data out of dangerous hands.

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About the Author

Caleb Barlow

Caleb Barlow is the President and Chief Executive Officer of CynergisTek, a top-ranked information security and privacy consulting firm focused on the healthcare IT industry Prior to joining CynergisTek, Caleb led the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence organization. In 2016, he built X-Force Command which is part of a $200M investment in a global incident response services, updated watch floors, the industry’s first immersive cyber range, and an incident command system for responding to major cyber incidents. In 2018, Caleb invented the Cyber Tactical Operations Center which is a first-of-its-kind training, simulation, and security operations center on wheels. Caleb has a broad background having led technical teams in product development, product management, strategy, marketing, and cloud service delivery. He has also led the integration efforts of on multiple IBM acquisitions. Caleb is a sought after speaker on the subject of security. He has appeared on TED stage, TODAY, and regularly appears on national news broadcasts. Caleb’s views have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, New York Times, and dozens of other publications. He testified before U.S. Congress and the United Nations by invitation of the President of the U.N. General Assembly. External to IBM, Caleb has been in leadership roles at two successful startups, including Syncra Systems, which is now part of Oracle, and Ascendant Technology, which was acquired by Avent. Caleb also holds multiple patents in the field of Unified Communication.

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