US teenager arrested for masterminding massive Twitter hack

WION Web Team New York, New York, United States of America Aug 01, 2020, 07.38 AM(IST)

Twitter Photograph:( Reuters )

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A Florida prosecutor identified the 17-year-old as Graham Clark of Tampa and charged him as an adult with 30 felony counts of fraud. Clark netted at least $100,000 from the scheme by using the celebrity accounts to solicit investments from unsuspecting Twitter users, state officials said.

A teenager was arrested for being the “mastermind” behind the Twitter Inc hack, which compromised the profiles of many prominent personalities and organisations.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Department of Justice conducted a complex nationwide investigation, locating and apprehending the suspect in Hillsborough County,” the statement said.

The 17-year-old Florida boy masterminded the hacking of celebrity accounts on Twitter Inc, including those of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, in mid-July.

A 19-year-old British man and a 22-year-old man in Orlando, Florida were also charged under US federal law with aiding the attack.

A Florida prosecutor identified the 17-year-old as Graham Clark of Tampa and charged him as an adult with 30 felony counts of fraud. Clark netted at least $100,000 from the scheme by using the celebrity accounts to solicit investments from unsuspecting Twitter users, state officials said.

Mason Sheppard, a 19-year-old from Bogner Regis, Britain who used the alias Chaewon, was charged with wire fraud and money laundering while Orlando-based Nima Fazeli, 22, nicknamed Rolex, was accused of aiding and abetting the crimes, according to a Justice Department statement.

Twitter said it appreciated the "swift actions of law enforcement."

Clark and one of the other participants were in custody, officials said.

In the hack, fraudulent tweets soliciting investments in the digital currency bitcoin were posted in mid-July by 45 verified Twitter accounts. Twitter said the hackers also likely read some direct messages including to a Dutch elected official.

Authorities provided new details Friday in an affidavit alleging that Clark "used social engineering to convince a Twitter employee that he was a co-worker in the IT department and had the employee provide credentials to access the customer service portal."