Twitter’s source code leaked on GitHub, Elon on the hunt to find the culprit
Twitter’s source code was recently leaked on GitHub, but was removed from the platform after Twitter filed a DMCA request. The request, which GitHub has made public, stated that the leaked information contained Twitter’s proprietary source code and internal tools, according to the New York Times,
The source code might have been publicly accessible for a few months before its removal. The GitHub account linked to the DMCA takedown notice had only one code contribution made in early January, which was not publicly visible.
The account was registered under the name “FreeSpeechEnthusiast,” apparently inspired by Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s self-proclaimed status as a “free speech absolutist” in the past.
The confidential source code of a company is typically one of its most tightly guarded trade secrets. Making it available to the public can pose a risk by exposing potential vulnerabilities in the software to attackers, as well as granting competitors an unfair advantage by allowing them to observe internal processes that are not accessible to the public. Hackers have previously targeted source code, including in attacks on Microsoft and CD Projekt Red, the developers of Cyberpunk 2077.
In addition to requesting the removal of the leaked code from GitHub, Twitter filed a court document in California in an effort to identify the individual responsible and obtain information about any other GitHub users who may have downloaded the information. According to Bloomberg, the filing requested that the court compel GitHub to disclose the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, social media profiles, and IP addresses of these users.
Former employee suspected of leaking Twitter’s source code
The New York Times reports that Twitter executives suspect a former employee who departed from the company last year may have leaked the source code. However, this does not significantly narrow down the list of potential suspects, as Elon Musk had laid off thousands of Twitter employees shortly after taking over the social media platform. Concerns over departing employees sabotaging the company before leaving have allegedly led Twitter to implement code freezes before layoffs.
The recent leak of Twitter’s proprietary code on GitHub emerged just days before the platform is set to open-source “all code used to recommend tweets” on March 31st. However, if this recommendation algorithm is indeed made open-source, it will likely reveal far less of Twitter’s confidential code than the recent leak on GitHub.
Musk, who paid $44 billion for Twitter last year now says it’s worth just $20 billion Elon’s cost-cutting measures and emphasis on generating new revenue streams like paid Twitter Blue subscriptions have reportedly affected the reliability of the service, resulting in several outages and disruptions in recent months.