Teen hacker charged with 30 felonies over huge Twitter bitcoin scam

Brittany A. Roston - Jul 31, 2020, 2:26 pm CDT
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Teen hacker charged with 30 felonies over huge Twitter bitcoin scam

A 17-year-old teenager from Tampa, Florida, has reportedly been arrested over his alleged ‘mastermind’ role in the recent Twitter hack that compromised many high-profile accounts. The discovery was made by a local news agency that claims the teenager has been charged with 30 felonies, including ones involving fraudulent use of personal information and communications fraud.

The discovery was made by WFLA News 8, a local news agency that reports a 17-year-old Tampa teenager named Graham Clark was arrested in connection with the case. Jail records reportedly reveal that Clark was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail in the early morning of Friday, July 31.

In a statement, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said that the US Department of Homeland Security and FBI identified Clark as part of their investigation into the hack. Though the high-profile users who had their accounts hijacked have been the popular focus of the cybersecurity incident, the repercussions have been more severe for the average Twitter user.

The account hijacking ultimately existed to facilitate a bitcoin scam that used tweets on accounts belonging to Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and others to encourage users to send in bitcoin. Other government agencies involved in the investigation include the IRS, Secret Service, and the Northern District of California’s US Attorney’s Office.

Hillsborough State Attorney Warren claimed in a statement that Clark faces prosecution in the county due to the fact that he ‘lives here.’ The announcement follows a new blog post from Twitter published on Thursday explaining that social engineering was the cause of the attack and that the company has since ‘significantly limited access to our internal tools and systems’ while its investigation continues.

UPDATE: Soon after the WFLA News 8 report, the US Department of Justice has published an official advisory revealing that a total of three people have been charged for their alleged role in the Twitter incident. The DOJ names Nima Fazeli, age 22 of Orlando, Florida, as well as Mason Sheppard, age 19 of the UK, as two of those people.

The third person is described as a ‘juvenile’ and as such, his or her identity hasn’t been revealed by the DOJ. However, the agency does note that this person has been referred to the Tampa, Florida, State Attorney Andrew Warren, indicating that the WFLA report is accurate.


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