U.S. authorities have charged a British teenager and two people from Florida with perpetrating or assisting this months massive hack of high-profile Twitter accounts, including presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — an attack that also led to an hourslong blockage that prevented President Donald Trump and other prominent users from posting.
The state attorney in Tampa Bays Hillsborough County, Fla., announced Friday that Graham Ivan Clark, 17, from Florida is the alleged “mastermind” behind the July 15 Twitter breach that sent fraudulent tweets from accounts belonging to, among others, former President Barack Obama, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and rapper Kanye West. The tweets asked people to send Bitcoin contributions to a mysterious address, with promises of doubling them.
The Justice Department separately announced that Mason Sheppard, 19, of the United Kingdom and Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, Fla., have also been charged in the Northern District of California with taking part in the scheme.
The breach sparked a massive outcry from Capitol Hill, with lawmakers demanding the social media giant quickly come clean about the circumstances around the breach. Several Senate panels, including Intelligence, Commerce and Homeland Security, have been weighing if they should launch their own investigations into the incident.
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warrens office announced Friday that it filed 30 felony charges against Clark this week, including 17 counts of communications fraud and 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal information. Clark was arrested Friday and booked into the Hillsborough County jail without bond, according to sheriffs office records.
Federal authorities accused the other the two of acting as middlemen in the sale of stolen Twitter accounts.
Sheppard used a personal drivers license to verify himself with the Binance and Coinbase cryptocurrency exchanges, according to DOJs filings, which said his accounts were later found to have sent and received some of the scammed bitcoin.
Fazeli likewise used a drivers license to verify himself with Coinbase, where accounts controlled by “Rolex” allegedly sent or received payments, the prosecutors wrote.
An “unknown individual,” using the handle “Kirk#5270” on the messaging platform Discord, is suspected to be the one who gained access to Twitters internal systems, according to the federal prosecutors complaints. The documents do not say whether Kirk#5270 is Clark.
Prosecutors said the scheme to defraud “stole the identities of prominent people” and “posted messages in their names directing victims to send Bitcoin” to accounts that were associated with the teen. The scheme reaped more than $117,000 in Bitcoin in just one day, the federal prosecutors alleged.
The attack targeted 130 Twitter accounts, tweeted from 45 of them,Read More – Source