Florida teen arrested for hacking celebrity Twitter accounts including Obama and Elon Musk

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A 17-year-old, believed to be the “mastermind” behind the massive hacking of high-profile Twitter accounts in an alleged Bitcoin scam, was arrested Friday during an early morning raid in Florida.

Tampa teenager Graham Ivan Clark faces 30 felony charges for the “Bit-Con” hack of celebrities, politicians and famous business leaders, including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and many more. ‘other.

The Justice Department, meanwhile, later announced charges against two alleged co-conspirators, Mason Sheppard, 19, from Bognor Regis in the UK, and Nima Fazeli, 22, from Orlando, in Florida, who are said to have gone by the hacker names “Chaewon” and “Rolex”. Sheppard faces charges of wire fraud, money laundering and hacking, while Fazeli faces charges of complicity.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, the IRS and the Secret Service conducted a global search after the biggest security breach in Twitter history revealed 130 accounts, allowing the hacker to tweet from of 45, to access direct message inboxes of 36, and download data of seven.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said the massive fraud was sophisticated and used famous figures to target regular Americans, with more than $ 100,000 in cryptocurrency sent in a single day. He told a press conference that the hack could have stolen huge sums of money and destabilized financial markets around the world.

“He had access to the Twitter accounts of powerful politicians, he could have undermined politics as well as international diplomacy,” Warren said.

The boy, who was arrested in an apartment where he lives alone, has been charged as an adult with crimes including organized fraud, communications fraud, identity theft and hacking.

Mr Warren said Clark gained access to Twitter’s accounts and internal controls by compromising a company employee, before selling access to certain accounts and using high-level identities to solicit Bitcoin.

The specific accounts he was accused of using included Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, Floyd Mayweather, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, as well as the Apple, Bitcoin companies. , Uber. and the Coinbase, Gemini, and Binance bitcoin exchanges.

While the celebrity tweets were posted on July 15, the charges were laid over a period of more than two months dating back to May 3. Mr Clark is currently in police custody and is expected to appear in court tomorrow morning. Mr Warren said he would not face federal charges so he could stand trial as an adult under Florida law.

“He’s a 17-year-old who apparently just graduated from high school, but make no mistake, he was no ordinary 17-year-old. It was a highly sophisticated attack on a scale never seen before, ”said Warren.

Twitter thanked law enforcement in a statement Friday, saying they were focusing on transparency in the hack.

A day earlier, the company said the attack targeted a small number of employees via a phone-based phishing attack that “was based on a significant and concerted attempt to mislead some employees and exploit human vulnerabilities. to access our internal systems ”.

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