3 CHARGED IN MASSIVE TWITTER HACK
MIAMI — A British man, a Florida man and a Florida teen were identified by authorities Friday as the hackers who last month took over Twitter accounts of prominent politicians, celebrities and technology moguls to scam people around the globe out of more than $100,000 in Bitcoin.
Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was arrested Friday in Tampa, where the Hillsborough state attorney’s office will prosecute him as adult. He faces 30 felony charges. Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis, U.K., and Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, were charged in California federal court.
Hackers sent out bogus tweets on July 15 from the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires and celebrities.
The tweets offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.
Security experts were not surprised that the alleged mastermind of the hack is a 17-year-old, given the relative amateur nature both of the operation and the hackers’ willingness afterward to discuss the hack with reporters online.
“There wasn’t a ton of development that went into this attack,” said Jake Williams, founder of the cybersecurity firm Rendition Infosec.
He said he was conflicted about whether Clark should be charged as an adult. “He definitely deserves to pay (for jumping on the opportunity) but potentially serving decades in prison doesn’t seem like justice in this case,” Williams said.
Twitter previously said hackers used the phone to fool the social media company’s employees into giving them access. It said hackers targeted “a small number of employees through a phone spear-phishing attack.”
Graham Ivan Clark