Twitter acquires mobile security firm

Twitter bird

Twitter confirmed late yesterday it had acquired mobile data encryption and security management software Whisper Systems.

The micro-blogging service has bought the US-based startup for an undisclosed sum to boost its security defences, particularly for mobile delivery over Google's Android operating system (OS).

Whisper Systems was co-founded last year by security developers Stuart Anderson and Moxie Marlinspike, who is also known for his work on secure communications protocols.

Robert Weeks, Twitter spokesman, confirmed in a statement sent to IT Pro that The Whisper Systems team had joined Twitter.

"As part of our fast-growing engineering team, they will be bringing their technology and security expertise to Twitter's products and services. We're happy to have Moxie and Stuart both on board," it said.

Whisper Systems produces security and privacy software applications for managing and encrypting content on mobile devices running the Android OS.

The startup, which was still in beta, offered its WhisperCore 0.5 device and data security management tool for Nexus S and Nexus One phones, WhisperMonitor 0.1 firewall software, and Flashback 0.1, RedPhone 0.4 and TextSecure 0.5 for encrypted backups, voice calls and texts.

The company said yesterday that its goal is improving security and privacy for mobile devices.

This led it to develop a full software 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".

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

With over 100 million users, the social networking site has been in the news over security before, where either its users have been targeted with malware and phishing scams, or its use during civil unrest has made the subject of national cyber security concerns.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.