Tampa Teen, 2 others arrested in massive Twitter hack

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TAMPA, Florida – A Tampa teenager was arrested in a massive Twitter hack of prominent politicians, celebrities and tech moguls that grossed over $ 100,000 in Bitcoin.Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was arrested in Tampa on Friday, where the Hillsborough state attorney’s office will prosecute him as an adult.

Clark appeared in court on Saturday. He is being held without bail.


What would you like to know

  • Graham Ivan Clark, teenager from Tampa, arrested and charged with hacking on Twitter
  • 2 others also arrested
  • Hack the targeted accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos
  • The program grossed more than $ 100,000 in bitcoin


He faces 30 felony charges, according to a press release. Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis, UK, and Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, have been charged in federal court in California.In one of the most high-profile security breaches of recent years, hackers on July 15 sent fake tweets from the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, co-founder of Microsoft. Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Celebrities Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, have also been hacked.

The tweets proposed to send $ 2,000 for every $ 1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.

Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office will prosecute Graham Ivan Clark as an adult. (Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

“There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be carried out anonymously and without consequence,” said U.S. District Attorney David L. Anderson of the Northern District of California in A press release. “Today’s charge announcement demonstrates that the excitement of malicious hacking in a secure environment for fun or profit will be short-lived.”

Although the case against the teenager was also investigated by the FBI and the US Department of Justice, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren explained that his office was suing Clark in front of a Florida state court because Florida law allows minors to be charged as adults in financial fraud cases such as this, if any. He added that Clark was the boss of the hacking scam.

“This defendant lives here in Tampa, he committed the crime here, and he will be prosecuted here,” Warren said.

Security experts were not surprised that the alleged mastermind of the hack was a 17-year-old, given the relatively amateurish nature of the operation and the hackers’ willingness to discuss the hack with journalists online afterwards. .

“I think this is a great case study showing how technology is democratizing the ability to commit serious crime,” said Jake Williams, founder of cybersecurity company Rendition Infosec. “I’m not very surprised that at least one of the suspects is a minor. There was not much development in this attack.

Williams said the hackers were “extremely sloppy” in the way they moved Bitcoin.

He also said he disagreed over whether Clark should be charged as an adult.

“He certainly deserves to pay (for taking the opportunity), but potentially serving decades in prison doesn’t seem like justice in this case,” William said.

Twitter previously said hackers used the phone to trick employees of the social media company into giving them access. He said the hackers had targeted “a small number of employees with a phone phishing attack.”

“This attack was based on a significant and concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems,” the company tweeted.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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