Thu. Sep 24th, 2020

FBI Arrests 17-Year-Old In Florida For Hacking 130+ High Profile Twitter Accounts

The authorities said on Friday that a Florida teenager was the “mastermind” of a recent high-profile hack of 130 Twitter accounts, including the accounts of celebrities like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the Silicon Valley mogul Elon Musk.


Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was arrested in his Tampa home early Friday, state officials said. He is believed to be the linchpin of a hack that turned into an embarrassment for Twitter and called into question the security measures of a range of tech companies. Two other people were also charged with taking part in the hack.

Federal authorities were already tracking Mr. Clark before the Twitter hack. In April, the Secret Service seized over $700,000 worth of Bitcoin from him, according to legal documents. The Tampa youth faces 30 felony charges, including fraud, and is being charged as an adult.

Federal authorities were already tracking Mr. Clark before the Twitter hack. In April, the Secret Service seized over $700,000 worth of Bitcoin from him, according to legal documents. The Tampa youth faces 30 felony charges, including fraud, and is being charged as an adult.

The Twitter hack began on July 15 as an effort to steal and sell unusual user names. It quickly escalated, as the hackers took over accounts belonging to cryptocurrency companies and celebrities. The scheme netted Bitcoin worth more than $180,000.

Federal authorities also brought charges against Mason John Sheppard, 19, of the United Kingdom, and Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, Fla. They are accused of acting as brokers during the hack by selling stolen Twitter user names.

The hackers tweeted from 45 of the accounts, gained access to the direct messages of 36 accounts, and downloaded full information from seven accounts. They gained access to internal Twitter systems by stealing login information from employees, then used their access to reset passwords on the accounts.

“While investigations into cyber breaches can sometimes take years, our investigators were able to bring these hackers into custody in a matter of weeks,” said John Bennett, a special agent in charge with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Cyber criminals will not find sanctuary behind their keyboards.”

In a statement, Twitter thanked law enforcement for its “swift actions” and said it would continue to cooperate with the investigation.

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy:  AP

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