Three People Charged in Twitter Bitcoin Hack [Updated]

A Florida teenager, who is accused of being the "mastermind" behind the July hacking of social media site Twitter, has been arrested, according to Tampa's WFLA Channel 8 News site.


17-year-old Graham Clark is facing 30 felony charges for "scamming people across America" with the Twitter hack. He's been accused of organized fraud, 17 counts of communication 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 a computer or electronic device without authority.

The July 15 Twitter hack saw the accounts of multiple prominent companies and individuals taken over, with hackers sharing bitcoin scam images in an attempt to collect money. Apple's Twitter account was included in the attack.

According to Twitter's internal investigations, Twitter employees were targeted in a "phone spear phishing attack," which suggests hackers called some of its staff and tricked them into thinking they were speaking with fellow Twitter employees.

The targeted employees provided access to Twitter's internal systems, which is how the hackers were able to breach the accounts. Twitter's internal tools were used to target 130 accounts, and for 45 of those accounts, the hackers used a password reset and had full access to send tweets.

Of the 130 accounts breached, which included the accounts of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, former U.S. President Barack Obama, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and presidential candidate Joe Biden, hackers had access to information like email addresses and phone numbers, plus for some accounts, Direct Messages were accessed.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said that Clark's scheme earned him more than $100,000 in bitcoin.

"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 in a statement. "This massive fraud was orchestrated right here in our backyard, and we will not stand for that."

In a statement, Twitter said that it appreciated the swift actions of law enforcement agents in Florida.


Twitter earlier today said that it is taking a "hard look" at how to improve its internal tools and systems and has limited access until better security protocols are in place.

Update: Along with Graham Clark, the United States Department of Justice announced that a 22-year-old man from Florida and a 19-year-old from the United Kingdom have also been accused of breaching Twitter's site.

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.

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 DoJ declined to name Graham Clark because he is under 18, but his identity was already revealed by Florida news sites.

"There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence," said U.S. Attorney Anderson. "Today's charging announcement demonstrates that the elation of nefarious hacking into a secure environment for fun or profit will be short-lived. Criminal conduct over the Internet may feel stealthy to the people who perpetrate it, but there is nothing stealthy about it. In particular, I want to say to would-be offenders, break the law, and we will find you."

Sheppard is facing up to 45 years in prison, while Fazeli is facing up to five years in prison.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: Twitter

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
12 weeks ago
Make him use Android for life
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 weeks ago
17...he's going to get a job offer some where. Probably going to end up working for the government.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 weeks ago
Kids do stupid stuff and should be punished - but give him life sentence? Are you mad? He might as well just kill himself as his life is over for this.
Is that a punishment that fits the crime?

Shouldn't most of your politicians be in prison along with people from wall street (aka 2008)? And those committed much worse than this kid.

Wow, I'm in disbelief!


Hope he get's a life-long sentence for scamming people.

Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 weeks ago
Pathetic that Twitter got owned by 3 kids. Those kids should have put their knowledge to better use, but it’s amazing that a 10 billion dollar company doesn’t have smart enough employees to be safe against teenagers.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 weeks ago
GOOD. Put his ass under the jail. This way hackers will learn that the nonsense they do has consequences, and they’ll stop acting like comic book super-villains.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 weeks ago
He got caught by using a "private" VPN service. Which, wasn't so private against the government after all.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

iPhone 12 Pro Allows You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly Using LiDAR Scanner

Saturday October 24, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality experiences, but the sensor also enables another unique feature: the ability to measure a person's height instantly using the Measure app. You can even measure the seated height of a person in a chair, according to Apple. When the Measure app detects a person in the viewfinder, it automatically measures their...

Google Reportedly Pays Apple $8-12 Billion Per Year to be Default iOS Search Engine

Sunday October 25, 2020 2:59 pm PDT by
The United States Justice Department is targeting a lucrative deal between Apple and Google as part of one of the U.S. government's largest antitrust cases, reports The New York Times. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the Mountain View-based company used anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and advertising markets to ...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

PSA: Non-iPhone 12 Models Charge Super Slowly With MagSafe Charger

Friday October 23, 2020 4:11 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a new $39 MagSafe Charger that's meant to work with the magnets in the iPhone 12 Pro models to charge them up at a maximum of 15W. The MagSafe Charger is technically able to be used with older iPhones, but it's not a good idea because the charging with non-iPhone 12 devices is so slow. We did two tests with the iPhone XS Max, draining the...

MagSafe Charger Teardown Reveals Simple Design With Magnets and Charging Coil Encircling a Small Circuit Board

Friday October 23, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
iFixit has today shared a teardown of Apple's new MagSafe charger for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. An X-ray of the MagSafe charger courtesy of Creative Electron reveals the internal charging coil surrounded by a circular arrangement of magnets within the puck. The only seam that iFixit was able to leverage to open the device was where the white rubber circle meets the metal rim,...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

iFixit Shares Full iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Teardown Revealing Interchangeable Displays and Batteries

Saturday October 24, 2020 1:48 pm PDT by
After live streaming a teardown of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro earlier this week, iFixit today provided a more in-depth teardown that goes through all of the components in the new devices, revealing several similarities between the two. Early testing conducted by iFixit shows that the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro displays are interchangeable and can be swapped without issue, though the max...