Twitter hack mastermind revealed as 17-year-old Bitcoin millionaire

FBI charges three individuals for hacking into high-profile Twitter accounts

Last month’s headline-making hack of high-profile Twitter accounts was supposedly masterminded by a 17-year old in Florida named Graham Ivan Clark.

On Friday, US authorities arrested Clark and charged him with 17 counts of communications fraud, 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal information, organised fraud and one count of breaking into an electronic device.  

The July 15 security breach saw the profiles of prominent politicians, celebrities and business leaders, from Bill Gates to Benjamin Netanyahu, hacked to promote a scam requesting payment in Bitcoin.

According to officials more than $100,000 were consequently sent to the Bitcoin “accounts associated with Clark” in a single day.

Also identified as suspects were Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bogor Regis in the United Kingdom and fellow Floridian Nima Fazeli, 22.

Addressing the most recent aspects of the security breach, Twitter stated that hackers “targeted a small number of employees through a phone spear phishing attack.” The company added:

“This attack relied on a significant and concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems. By obtaining employee credentials, they were able to target specific employees who had access to our account support tools. They then targeted 130 Twitter accounts - Tweeting from 45, accessing the DM inbox of 36, and downloading the Twitter Data of 7.”

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Despite his age, Clark has a track record for cryptocurrency scams, with a long-standing reputation in Minecraft communities of scamming players out of their money.

At the age of 16, Clark was suspected of being involved in the theft of $856,000 but was never charged. In 2019, Florida prosecutors seized $15,000 and 400 BTC from him during a criminal investigation, 300 of which eventually returned.

On Saturday, the attorney representing Clark at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Florida stated that his client was still in possession of these funds. Worth over $3.4m at the time of writing, these cryptos would be more than enough for Clark to post his $725,000 bail.

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