US authorities announced the arrest of 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark from Tampa, Florida, it is suspected to have orchestrated the recent Twitter hack. The arrest is the result of an operation coordinated by the FBI, the IRS, and the Secret Service.
The arrest of Clark, who is suspected to be the “mastermind” behind the attack, was first reported by Florida news outlet WFLA-TV.
“Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren filed 30 felony charges against the teen this week for “scamming people across America” in connection with the Twitter hack that happened on July 15.” states WFLA-TV. “The charges he’s facing include one count of organized fraud, 17 counts of communications fraud, one count of fraudulent use of personal information with over $100,000 or 30 or more victims, 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information and one count of access to computer or electronic device without authority.”
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren filed charges against Clark for being the “mastermind” behind the attack that compromised 130 accounts.
The teen is believed to have gained access to Twitter’s backend, then he used an internal tool to take over several high-profile accounts and promote a cryptocurrency scam. The attackers posted messages urging the followers of the hacked accounts to send money to a specific bitcoin wallet address to receive back larger sums.
The hackers were able to take control of 45 of them sending out some posts on behalf of the owners, and downloaded data from eight.
The list of hacked accounts includes Barrack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Michael Bloomberg, and others.
With this fraudulent scheme, threat actors obtained nearly $120,000 worth of bitcoins (approximately 12.86 bitcoins were amassed by attackers in “accounts associated with Clark”) from the unaware followers of the hacked accounts.
Below some of the charges reported in a press release from Warren’s office:
In a separate announcement, the US Department of Justice announced additional charges against two Clark’s accomplices, Mason Sheppard (19), aka “Chaewon,” and Nima Fazeli (22), aka “Rolex,” from Orlando, Florida.
“Mason Sheppard, aka “Chaewon,” 19, of Bognor Regis, in the United Kingdom, was charged in a criminal complaint in the Northern District of California with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the intentional access of a protected computer.” states the DoJ.
“Nima Fazeli, aka “Rolex,” 22, of Orlando, Florida, was charged in a criminal complaint in the Northern District of California with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer.
The third defendant is a juvenile. With exceptions that do not apply to this case, juvenile proceedings in federal court are sealed to protect the identity of the juvenile.”
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(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Twitter hack)