Monday, May 20, 2024

Ex-Twitter Employee Found Guilty of Sharing User’s Private Information to Saudi Arabia

A former Twitter employee was found guilty of acting as an agent of a foreign government and illegally sharing Twitter user information.

Reports say, Ahmad Abouammo aged 44, formerly of Walnut Creek, California, and at present residing in Seattle, was employed at Twitter as ‘Media Partnerships Manager for the MENA region in 2015.

Access to Twitter User Information

The evidence clearly mentions that Abouammo took bribes in exchange for accessing, monitoring, and conveying the private information of Twitter users to officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Royal family.

“He received a Hublot watch and $300,000 in wire transfers, which the US said were bribes from the MBS aide, Bader Al- Asaker, in exchange for confidential Twitter account information on Saudi dissidents”, Bloomberg reported.

At work, Abouammo was in charge of protecting Twitter user information and owed Twitter his honest services. Reports say, Twitter policies also required Abouammo to disclose violations of Twitter’s security policies and report gifts from those with business dealings with the company.

When he enquired about the access to Twitter user information and the receipt of bribes, Abouammo lied to the FBI investigators and falsified a document.

Angela Chuang, a federal public defender representing Abouammo, told jurors the case was a product of a botched investigation and Twitter’s careless handling of its users’ data. Also, Abouammo’s alleged co-conspirator, Ali Alzabarah, who worked at Twitter as an engineer, ran away to Saudi Arabia in spite of being under observation.

Chuang told the judges, “Both the government and Twitter need a way to save face. The US let its primary suspect escape and Twitter threw Abouammo “under the bus”. This case is the best they could come up with?”

“Any attempts by foreign governments to hijack free speech – in social media or any form – will not be tolerated here in the United States. This case is proof of the FBI’s commitment to defend our constitutional right,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.

“Authoritarian governments rely on transnational repression to shape the world in their favour and stifle dissent. We remain dedicated to protecting the United States from all threats foreign and domestic, which includes efforts by foreign governments to stalk, harass, or intimidate the people within our borders.”

The Charge for Acting as an Agent of a Foreign Government

Reports state that Abouammo faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government and 20 years in prison for each of the other counts.

Additionally, fines of up to $250,000 and further periods of supervised release follow the prison term. Therefore a federal district court judge will decide any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

According to the reports, the sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Steps to Achieve Web Security to battle internet threats – Download Whitepaper.

Website

Latest articles

Hackers Exploiting Docusign With Phishing Attack To Steal Credentials

Hackers prefer phishing as it exploits human vulnerabilities rather than technical flaws which make...

Norway Recommends Replacing SSLVPN/WebVPN to Stop Cyber Attacks

A very important message from the Norwegian National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) says that...

New Linux Backdoor Attacking Linux Users Via Installation Packages

Linux is widely used in numerous servers, cloud infrastructure, and Internet of Things devices,...

ViperSoftX Malware Uses Deep Learning Model To Execute Commands

ViperSoftX malware, known for stealing cryptocurrency information, now leverages Tesseract, an open-source OCR engine,...

Santander Data Breach: Hackers Accessed Company Database

Santander has confirmed that there was a major data breach that affected its workers...

U.S. Govt Announces Rewards up to $5 Million for North Korean IT Workers

The U.S. government has offered a prize of up to $5 million for information...

Russian APT Hackers Attacking Critical Infrastructure

Russia leverages a mix of state-backed Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups and financially motivated...
Guru baran
Guru baranhttps://gbhackers.com
Gurubaran is a co-founder of Cyber Security News and GBHackers On Security. He has 10+ years of experience as a Security Consultant, Editor, and Analyst in cybersecurity, technology, and communications.

Free Webinar

Live API Attack Simulation

94% of organizations experience security problems in production APIs, and one in five suffers a data breach. As a result, cyber-attacks on APIs increased from 35% in 2022 to 46% in 2023, and this trend continues to rise.
Key takeaways include:

  • An exploit of OWASP API Top 10 vulnerability
  • A brute force ATO (Account Takeover) attack on API
  • A DDoS attack on an API
  • Positive security model automation to prevent API attacks

Related Articles