Twitter acquires WhisperSystems mobile security technology

Twitter acquired WhisperSystems, a firm that makes mobile encryption and firewall technology for Android devices.

Twitter has made a move to bolster its security by acquiring encryption and network security tools designed for Android devices.

The company acquired WhisperSystems, a firm co-founded by Moxie Marlinspike, a well known security researcher and ardent privacy advocate. WhisperSystems developed a hardened version of Google Android which provides full disk encryption, network security tools and encrypted backup of their mobile device data. The company also developed automated voice and text messaging encryption technologies.

“Now that we're joining Twitter, we're looking forward to bringing our technology and our expertise into Twitter's products and services,” according to a post in the company’s blog.

Twitter did not say how it would use the technology. WhisperSystems said it would temporarily move its products and services offline. Its RedPhone service for voice encryption is immediately being taken down. Users of its FlashBack service, which provides secure mobile backup will have one month to access backup data before the service is terminated.

Experts have been documenting a steady rise in social networking threats. Twitter has been forced to improve its security as attackers have been targeting its service because of its growing popularity. In March, the company rolled out HTTPS encrypted site to avoid snooping of Twitter traffic over unsecured Wi-Fi connections. Last year, the messaging company settled a dispute with the Federal Trade Commission, agreeing to bolster its internal security practices following the hijacking of dozens of high profile accounts.

~ Robert Westervelt

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