Teenager arrested for masterminding Twitter hack

Lawrence Kim
August 1, 2020

It worked, in spectacular fashion. According to court documents, although the accounts were hacked on July 15, the entire planning began on May 3, when Clark, a teen from Tampa but living in California, gained access to a portion of Twitter's network.

In the criminal complaint filings, it appears that Clark had been hawking the ability to change any piece of information about a Twitter account in exchange for Bitcoin. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos and Tesla Inc.

Graham Clark has reportedly been charged with 30 felonies of communications and organized fraud for scamming hundreds of people using compromised accounts. Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis, in the U.K, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and the intentional access of a protected computer, according to federal authorities.

Lawyers or family members for the defendants couldn't be located for comment. Clark's mother, Emiliya Clark, told NBC News that her son was innocent. "I believe he didn't do it. In particular, I want to say to would-be offenders, break the law, and we will find you", he added.

Twitter said in a statement: "We appreciate the swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses".

The hacked Twitter accounts were made to send tweets suggesting they were giving away bitcoin, and that anyone who sent bitcoin to a specified account would be sent back double the amount they gave. From there, they moved to compromise 130 Twitter accounts, tweeted from 45 of them, accessed the DM inbox of 36, and downloaded the data of seven.

The San Francisco-based social media giant said there's no evidence the hackers actually accessed passwords of its users in the massive breach, and for that reason, didn't recommend resetting passwords. Later that day, Twitter disclosed that threat actors successfully targeted its staffers to gain access to internal systems and tools. Twitter disputed the former employees' characterization of the company's oversight of accounts. It also shut off accounts not affected by the hack as a precaution. "Winning ownership of usernames, like "@6" or "@dark", yield their own form of virtual bragging rights. "Whether you're taking advantage of someone in person or on the internet, trying to steal their cash or their cryptocurrency - it's fraud, it's illegal, and you won't get away with it", Warren said.

The FBI identified, tracked down, and arrested three individuals who are responsible for the Twitter hack.

"Chaewon", an alleged alias of Sheppard's, posted an OGUser thread entitled, "Pulling email for any Twitter/Taking Requests".

Florida state attorney Andrew Warren said suspect Graham Ivan Clark is "a 17-year-old kid who apparently just graduated high school". "A successful attack required the attackers to obtain access to both our internal network as well as specific employee credentials that granted them access to our internal support tools".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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