June 24, 2024

Florida teen arrested, accused of being ‘mastermind’ behind Twitter hack

(Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

A Florida teen has been arrested and accused of being the “mastermind” behind Twitter’s recent security and privacy breach. 

17-year-old Graham Clark of Tampa, Florida is said to have posed as a member of Twitter’s IT department and gained access to the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Apple, Uber and more. The hack was part of a massive bitcoin scam on July 15th, theGrio reported. 

Each of the hacked Twitter profiles sent out messages that included the same bitcoin account, and urged followers to send cryptocurrency on the promise to double any amount received. 

Read More: Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Uber and more hacked on Twitter

“Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time,” one of the tweets read. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”

Apparently, Clark didn’t act alone. 22-year-old Nima Fazeli in Orlando and 19-year-old Mason Sheppard in the UK have also been charged by the US Department of Justice, The Verge reports. The duo, who go by the hacker aliases “Rolex” and “Chaewon,” respectively, are in custody, according to the FBI. 

Chaewon allegedly conspired with an unidentified minor in California, who confessed to helping sell access to Twitter accounts.

According to an affidavit released Friday, authorities say Clark convinced a Twitter employee that he worked in the IT department and that’s how he was able to gain credentials.

“Once we became aware of the incident, we immediately locked down the affected accounts and removed Tweets posted by the attackers,” Twitter said in a statement. “We have locked accounts that were compromised and will restore access to the original account owner only when we are certain we can do so securely.”

Clark is currently in jail and being charged as an adult with over 30 felony counts, including organized fraud, communications fraud, identity theft, and hacking, 

Read More: Twitter was hacked and now some of its most prominent users are caught in a Bitcoin scam

Celebrities hacked on Twitter (via Twitter.com)

Fazeli is facing five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for computer intrusion. Sheppard is facing a 20-year sentence and a $250,000 fine in the US for computer intrusion, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy, the report states. 

“This could have had a massive, massive amount of money stolen from people, it could have destabilized financial markets within America and across the globe; because he had access to powerful politicians’ Twitter accounts, he could have undermined politics as well as international diplomacy,” said Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren.

“This is not a game… these are serious crimes with serious consequences, and if you think you can rip people off online and get away with it, you’ll be in for a rude awakening, a rude awakening that comes in the form of a 6 AM knock on your door from federal agents,” he added. 

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!


About The Author

Past Interviews

Download Our New App!

Umoja Radio Amazon Mobile AppUmoja Radio Amazon Mobile AppUmoja Radio Android Mobile AppUmoja Radio iPhone Mobile AppUmoja Radio iPhone Mobile App