Are your business plans more secure than Twitter’s?

July 16, 2009

lockIt’s not every day that a privately-owned company’s internal financial laundry is scattered across the Web for all to see.

But that’s the unfortunate scenario microblogging startup Twitter found itself in on Wednesday after technology news site TechCrunch published a slew of the company’s confidential business documents.

The files, sent to the site by a hacker who managed to gain access to some of the company’s servers, included everything from plans to launch a Twitter reality television show to notes from its executive meetings to a detailed financial outlook from February.

Reuters tech columnist Eric Auchard provides a bit-by-bit breakdown of the financial forecast here. The outlook reveals that Twitter projected to grow to 1 billion users and rake in a $1.1 billion net profit on $1.54 billion in revenues by the end of 2013.

While Twitter co-founder Biz Stone seemed to take the news in stride, saying the financial projections are now out of date, you can bet the startup’s competitors are poring over the documents with some pleasure.

TechCrunch only published a handful of the 130 files it was sent, but the whole episode should serve as a wake-up call to startups and small businesses everywhere that there’s no such thing as too much security.

Will your business be taking any new security precautions in light of the Twitter case? Please leave your stories in the comments section.

(Photo: A padlock is seen at a closed shop in the Westminster Mall in Westminster, Colorado in this February 26, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Rick Wilkin)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Sometimes a company can grow too quickly – this has always been known, but in todays world it is paramount that you pay attention to detail and always build it one brick at a time.

Posted by Ken Bakker | Report as abusive

The depth of detail in what Tech Crunch published of Twitter’s internal documents has got to be disconcerting to them and like Christmas come early to their competitors. It’s like seeing the culture and views of a company laid out on paper. So while Biz Stone may laugh it off he’s got to be wondering whether Tech Crunch published a manual on how Facebook can destroy Twitter.

Posted by Austin Apartment Pro | Report as abusive

Is it ok for Tech Crunch to publish hacked (stolen) information on their website? I don’t think it is, they should have warned Twitter about possible security flaws and their servers being hacked.

Posted by Nikkei 225 | Report as abusive

[…] service to most of its users after a hacker compromised the system. Hacking appears to be an ongoing problem with the site. It’s probably time to sit the security team down for a good tongue […]

Posted by Why is Wall Street Stuck in Timeout? – August 6, 2009 | Report as abusive