- By Zoe Kleinman
- Technology journalist
Today, Twitter was filled with people saying goodbye.
The hashtag “RIPTwitter” is trending and many users of the site are rushing to upload their data.
They also share alternative places to find them (consumption champion Martin Lewis, who has 2 million Twitter followers, has Mastodon installed, although he admits he doesn’t know how to use it yet) .
New Twitter boss Elon Musk, never one to ignore a trend, tweeted a meme of a tombstone featuring the Twitter logo.
Staff have been let go in droves – half of the staff were fired by Mr Musk a week after he completed the purchase of the platform, and many more have chosen to leave since he sent an email demanding “hard” working conditions. and long working hours from it. remaining employees.
According to their Twitter bio, many of these people are engineers, developers and coders, that is, people who work on the inner workings of how Twitter works.
Consider the two biggest weaknesses that can knock a bluebird off its perch very quickly.
Could it be hacked?
The first and most obvious is a catastrophic hack.
Twitter, like all major websites (including this one, the BBC), is said to be under constant attack by malicious actors – even at the state level – eager to stir up trouble. World leaders, politicians and celebrities have personal Twitter accounts with millions of followers – an easy prey for a hacker who wants his scam to be seen by as many people as we’ve seen.
Or maybe it just wants to shut down the site, bombarding it with web traffic to see if it gets overwhelmed and shuts down that way. Attempts like this happen all the time – it’s a constant battle.
Cybersecurity is, or at least should be, an integral part of the day-to-day operations of any business in the 21st century. Last week, Twitter cybersecurity chief Lea Kissner left her post. Don’t know if it has been replaced. (Twitter doesn’t have a communications team either, so there’s no easy way to ask).
Twitter’s security is probably pretty strong. You can’t run a site that is used by 300 million people every month hanging by a string. But this stability requires constant maintenance.
Think about your phone or laptop and the security updates you need to install regularly. In fact, new vulnerabilities are discovered regularly, new flaws in armor that you didn’t know existed, and it’s up to the supplier to send you a solution.
Servers are at risk
A second potential disaster is when servers are taken down, either by someone malicious or accidentally during poorly managed routine maintenance.
Without servers, there would be no Twitter (or Facebook, or Instagram, or even our digital world).
Servers – powerful computers – are like the physical bodies of these platforms. They exist in data centers. These are actually warehouses filled with computer servers that are the heart of online business operations. The world runs on servers.
As you can imagine, all of these engines produce a lot of heat. Data centers must be kept cool and require a constant power source.
The servers themselves also need to be maintained and replaced, as data is transferred from server to server. All this can lead to a problem. If so, it will be sudden and dramatic.
The nuclear option
Elon Musk knows all this, of course. Let’s not assume he doesn’t know. However, he may choose to play the jester.
We do not know who is currently monitoring.
But something happened to me yesterday that made me think there might be more people on Twitter watching than we think.
I told the story of an astronomer who had his account removed after falling victim to automated moderation tools. No one at Twitter or other companies of Mr. Musk responded to me, or contacted him. But his account was actually restored after that day.
Someone, somewhere within Twitter, took notice. Perhaps there are still enough of them.
There’s still the nuclear option Musk declares Twitter bankrupt, and liquidates the company.
You can follow Zoe Kleinman on Twitter (@zsk), as well as on Mastodon (@firstname.lastname@example.org).