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Twitter acquires dynamic duo at Whisper Systems, works to beef up privacy / security


You know that tweet you just wrote about your innermost emotions and the tasty sandwich you just ate? It's about to become that much more secure. Adding to its list of available resources, Twitter has acquired Whisper Systems, a two-man security outfit specializing in mobile device security and data scrambling on the Android operating system. Whisper, founded in 2010 by security industry mainstays Moxie Marlinspike and Stuart Anderson, has garnered a reputation for exposing high-profile vulnerabilities in systems that encrypt data over the Internet and WiFi networks. An exact buyout price for the company has yet to be released publicly -- though Marlinspike has released tools like SSLStrip that demonstrate vulnerabilities in supposedly secure web sites and has been working on a tool known as 'Convergence' -- which helps point out unreliable web certificate authorities. Not a bad find for Twitter, a company that has yet to switch over to a default HTTPS option for its 100 million active members' posts.

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Whisper Systems Is Joining Twitter!
Posted November 28th, 2011.

We're moving:

We started Whisper Systems with the goal of improving security and privacy for mobile devices. We were attracted to this not only because we saw it as an opportunity to reinvent the security solutions that never really worked in the PC environment to begin with, but also because the stakes are much higher - due to the nature of mobile devices themselves - and we didn't like the way that things were looking.

We ended up tackling the full stack - all the way from application-level solutions at the top of the stack, down through a hardened version of Android, to kernel modifications at the bottom of the stack. Along the way we learned a lot, and developed products that we're proud of.

Now that we're joining Twitter, we're looking forward to bringing our technology and our expertise into Twitter's products and services.

The Transition:

The Whisper Systems software as our users know it will live on (and we have some surprises in store that we're excited about), but there is unfortunately a transition period where we will have to temporarily take our products and services offline. RedPhone service will be interrupted immediately, but FlashBack users have a month to pull off any backup data they would like before that service also goes offline.

Enormous Thanks:

Thanks to everyone who beta tested our software, sent us encouraging emails, filed thoughtful bug reports, and in general kept us going with your enthusiasm and support. We couldn't have done it without you, and we hope that we can continue to meet your expectations for software that helps provide security and privacy.

- Whisper Systems Development Team

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