- The scheme was created to steal the identities of famous Twitter users and use their accounts to direct others to send Bitcoin accounts identified with the hackers.
- They earned $100,000 in Bitcoin in a single day.
- The investigation involved the IRS, the FBI, and even the Secret Service.
A 17-year old from Florida was identified as the mastermind behind one of the largest Twitter hacks in history, which compromised the accounts of big names including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Barack Obama.
Graham Clark was arrested and slapped with 30 felony charges for allegedly hacking the Twitter accounts of high-profile users as part of a large-scale cyptocurrency scam.
The said scheme was created to steal the identities of famous Twitter users and use their accounts to direct others to send Bitcoin accounts owned or ran by Clark.
The scheme earned Clark more than $100,000 in Bitcoin in just one day.
According to the office of Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, Clark will be facing “one count of organized fraud, 17 counts of communications fraud, 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information,” as well as other related charges.
Two adults were also charged along with Clark. They were Mason Sheppard from the UK and Nima Fazeli from Orlando, Florida.
“These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here. This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including here in Florida,” Warren said.
He also added that the fraud was “orchestrated right here in our backyard, and we will not stand for that.”
The hack, which started on July 15, led to a nationwide investigation which involved the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the state attorney’s office, the IRS, the FBI, and even the Secret Service.
According to Twitter, the breach originated from a targeted “phishing attack” against the social media site’s employees. Clark allegedly targeted staffers who had access to the support tools used by Twitter. In doing so, he was able to hack into 45 accounts.
Meanwhile, a report likewise tells us that Clark was able to convince one of the Twitter employees that he was a co-worker in thet technology department. He was able to secure the employee’s credentials to access the customer service portal.
Mistakes from Clark and the other hackers led to their arrest less than a week after the breach was committed. They scrambled to hide the money they got once the hack was discovered and they also left hints about their real identities.
Aside from the fraudulent tweets, Clark and those he was working with was able to access the direct message inbox of 36 accounts. They were also able to download data for seven Twitter accounts.
Other accounts that were compromised included Kanye West, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, and the Apple store.
Twitter acknowledged the charges and arrest of the suspects.
Security professionals were not at all surprised by the age of the suspects. Most of the people drawn to this sort of scheme are teenagers who go after unique user names because controlling them makes them feel important and that they have clout.
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