Twitter has revealed that an API exploit allowed an attacker to match 17 million phone numbers to public usernames. In a statement released February 3, Twitter acknowledged the assault, noting that a "large network of fake accounts" had been employed to siphon the personal information of millions.
The social giant verified that back on December 24, it had uncovered a bug that would allow "a bad actor to see nonpublic account information or to control your account." It has since fixed the exploit and suspended accounts that were involved.
Twitter apologized for the exploit, which used a large network of fake accounts. Image: Shutterstock.
So it seems Jack Dorsey was right all along—it's time to decentralize Twitter.
Pushing for decentralized social media
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has long been a champion of the cryptocurrency industry's decentralized ideals. As reported by Decrypt, he unveiled plans to pioneer a decentralized social media standard last year.
With Twitter taking the lead, Dorsey intends to create a Web 3 wonderland—fortified by blockchain technology.
"Finally, new technologies have emerged to make a decentralized approach more viable. Blockchain points to a series of decentralized solutions for open and durable hosting, governance, and even monetization. Much work to be done, but the fundamentals are there," Dorsey said.
Indeed, a decentralized standard would go a long way to eradicate such exploits as Twitter's latest API debacle. Centralized social media platforms continue to be harassed by malicious actors whose attack vectors are all too apparent. Without a central means of assault, exposure is minimized.
Moreover, in a decentralized platform, personal data remains just that, personal. Providing absolute control over private data is one of the primary purposes of a decentralized ecosystem—and one which could potentially solve a fair few of the internet's most nagging issues. But it will be a long road to get there.