October 2, 2022

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What are the security risks of open source Twitter algorithms?

4 min read

What are the security risks of open source Twitter algorithms?



What are the security risks of open source Twitter algorithms?

Musk had said more than a month ago that he would open-source Twitter’s algorithm after the Twitter acquisition to improve the platform’s transparency.

The decision inevitably sparked heated discussions, and security experts were divided on whether open source algorithms would have some net positive impact on security.

Some critics have pointed out that Musk’s idea of ​​open-sourcing Twitter could highlight the site’s Log4Shell and Spring4Shell-level vulnerabilities.

But proponents argue that the decision could even enhance the security of the platform.

Media VentureBeat has sorted out the possible impact of Musk’s open source Twitter algorithm.

Among them, the possible downside is that it may provide more opportunities for attackers to cut in: one of the biggest security risks of open source code is that it provides threat actors with the opportunity to analyze its security vulnerabilities.

“Opening up Twitter’s recommendation algorithm is a double-edged sword,” said Mike Parkin, senior technical engineer at Vulcan Cyber. “While focusing more on the code improves security, it also opens the door for malicious researchers to gain access to what they normally wouldn’t be able to do.” Insights gained”.

And pointed out that opening the recommendation algorithm may allow “false information” to spread further on the platform.

Proponents, on the other hand, argue that the benefit of open source algorithms is the increased transparency to mitigate vulnerabilities.

Some analysts and security experts say the increased transparency of the platform is positive because it allows the platform’s user base the opportunity to play a role in vulnerability management.

Unlike Twitter, which has a small research team that manages vulnerabilities, open-source code could allow the platform to gain support from thousands of users who can help improve the security and integrity of the platform.

Bugcrowd founder and CTO believes that access to source code is critical when finding software vulnerabilities; an “inside-out” view is always more useful and complete than a view formed by looking only at the outside-in. “We’ve been seeing this in crowdsourced security testing, and Twitter’s security advantage will be more thorough feedback from the crowd on what needs to be fixed.”

It added that while the move does provide an opportunity for attackers to identify vulnerabilities, whether the security impact is positive or negative will ultimately depend on Twitter’s ability to invest in vulnerability information and fix them before they are exploited.

While it’s unclear what impact open source algorithms will have, there are some simple steps organizations can take to help reduce risk. T

im Mackey, chief security strategist at Synopsys Software Integrity Group, suggests that an open source governance program will help address risks effectively.

“Enterprises can mitigate some of these risks by identifying which open source components power Twitter’s open source technology, and then implementing an open source governance program for them. Such a plan would proactively monitor these components for new vulnerability disclosures and enable enterprises to react quickly to changes in risk Reactive. This is similar to the proactive model some enterprises use to minimize exposure to Log4Shell vulnerabilities.”

Mackey recommends that companies implement an open source governance program for the open source components that power Twitter’s technology, and proactively monitor new vulnerability disclosures so security teams are prepared to address them.



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