Florida CFO formally requests FDLE investigate Twitter security breach

Jimmy Patronis 2.14.19
"One tweet could cause conflicts or send our state’s economy into a tailspin."

Less than 72 hours after Twitter suffered a high-profile security breach, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has formally requested for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to begin an investigation into the incident.

In a letter sent Monday to FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen, Patronis cited his “fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers”  and the state’s need to understand potential economic threats as his motivations for the request.

“The attack represents a threat beyond that to all users’ privacy and data security, though those are credible threats given that Florida is experiencing an ongoing fraud epidemic,” Patronis said. “This coordinated attack threatens the underpinnings of how the State of Florida shares important information about elections, disasters and other emergencies, and consumer services. One tweet could cause conflicts or send our state’s economy into a tailspin.”

While details remain few on the hack, the Twitter breach impacted both high-profile individuals and major companies including Apple, former President Barack ObamaJoe BidenElon MuskBill Gates, Kanye West and Michael Bloomberg, all of whom posted similar Tweets that encouraged users to send them bitcoin for a larger return.

Elon Musk
Bill Gates

Patronis encouraged FDLE to utilize the department’s cyber security experts and partnerships with federal agencies in furtherance of the investigation.

“Proper information and guidance would assist the Cabinet in empowering these entities to protect Florida’s interests,” Patronis said. “Understanding these activities can strengthen shared efforts to minimize fraud, ensure Florida has the tools and enhanced technology needed to monitor and detect these events, and gain an assessment of further resources that are needed or may be leveraged at the state, local and federal level.”

Other state police agencies and the FBI have launched probes into the security breach.

On Friday, Twitter said it will cooperate with law enforcement investigations and will share updates as they develop.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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