A former Twitter employee has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

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A former Twitter employee has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for spying on individuals on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

In August 2022, former Twitter employee Ahmad Abouammo, 44, was found guilty of collecting personal information of certain Twitter users and passing them to Saudi Arabia.

Abuanmo is now serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for spying on an individual on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

“Yesterday, a California man was charged in federal prison for accessing, monitoring and communicating classified information that could be used to identify and identify Twitter users of interest to the Saudi royal family. Sentenced to 42 months in prison.” Read the press release issued by the DoJ. “Ahmad Abuanmo, 45, a former Walnut Creek native and now a Seattle resident, has been accused of acting as a foreign agent without notice to the Attorney General, conspiracy, wire fraud, international money laundering, and criminal charges of record. He was found guilty of tampering.9 after a two-week jury trial.”

In November 2019, former Twitter employee Abouammo and Saudi citizen Ali Alzabarah were charged with spying on thousands of Twitter user accounts on behalf of the Saudi government. Two former Twitter employees worked for the Saudi government with the aim of using social networks to expose dissidents.

Representatives of the Saudi government recruited the duo in 2014. Their mission was to collect non-public information on Twitter accounts associated with prominent critics of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the royal family.

Abouammo and Alzabarah may also store certain user profiles, such as email addresses, devices used, user-provided biographical information, date of birth, logs containing user browser information, and logs of all actions of a particular user on the Twitter platform. Unauthorized access to associated information. Other information that can be used to determine a user’s geographic location, such as IP address or phone number.

According to the indictment, Alzabarah joined Twitter in August 2013 as a “site reliability engineer” and worked with Saudi authorities from May 21 to November 18, 2015. The user who Saudi law enforcement submitted an emergency disclosure request to her Twitter.

Abouammo has been charged with acting as a foreign agent in the mainland United States and has also provided falsified records to the federal government to thwart investigations.

The man also deleted certain information from social media platforms and, in some cases, closed his Twitter account at the request of Saudi government officials. Of course, he was also able to reveal the identities of some users on behalf of the Saudi government.

Saudi officials paid Abouammo up to $300,000 for his work, explaining the indictment was possible by disguising the payments with fake invoices. The document also states that the man received a Hublot Unico Big Bang King Gold Ceramic Watch. This watch sold him on Craigslist for $42,000.

“Mr. Abouammo betrayed the trust placed upon him to protect the privacy of individuals by providing their personal information to a foreign power for profit. Made worse by the fact that it was intended to target political dissidents who oppose foreign powers,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Department of Justice’s National Security Agency. rice field. “We are committed to holding accountable those who illegally act as unregistered foreign agents and advance covert influence campaigns on behalf of foreign governments.”

Abouammo received cash from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its activities, according to evidence presented at the August trial. The man opened a bank account in his father’s name in Lebanon and received $200,000 in two transfers.

Abouammo was also ordered to confiscate $242,000 on March 31, 2023 and imprison him to begin his sentence.

The development comes after Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security, has filed a whistleblower complaint about the company’s serious security flaws, and the Chinese and Indian governments have given the company one of its agents. He claims he was forced to hire people. Access to sensitive user data.

Follow me on Twitter: @Security Affairs When Facebook When Mastodon

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security related hacking, Saudi Arabia)


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