Federal agents arrested a 17-year-old teenager for allegedly masterminding the high-profile July 15 Twitter hack that left many high-profile Twitter accounts in jeopardy. High profile personalities affected by the major cyber attack include Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden.
The hack raked in around $120,000 in Bitcoin from victims who unknowingly were lured to transfer their funds, with the false promise of doubling the amount. The Tampa teenager arrested in Florida faces 30 counts of felony and has been investigated by the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI), the Secret Service and the Florida police.
We appreciate the swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses. For our part, we are focused on being transparent and providing updates regularly.
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— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) July 31, 2020
Two more Twitter hack suspects identified
According to a media agency in Florida, WFLA-TV, Graham Ivan Clark, the alleged Twitter hack mastermind, is believed to have obtained access to Twitter’s backend, taken over a few high-profile accounts and tweeted on their behalf to promote a fake bitcoin giveaway scam. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren has announced the charges against the teenager.
Moreover, hours after Warren’s press conference, the United States DoJ announced additional charges against two other persons suspected to have been involved in the Twitter hack. The second suspect, named Mason Sheppard, aka “Chaewon, is a 19-year-old from Bognor Regis in the United Kingdom; while the other is Nima Fazeli, aka “Rolex,” a 22-year-old from Orlando, Florida. However, the DoJ did not specify whether the two other suspects were arrested.
Twitter working to improve its security protocol
Notably, the massive Twitter hack reportedly used Twitter’s internal administration tool to access celebrity accounts. In addition, reports suggest that an inside man working with Twitter has been paid to grant access to the perpetrators. According to the New York Times, the insider was identified as “Kirk,” who sold the internal administrative tool to different cyber attackers.
In its efforts to prevent such an incident from occurring in the future, Twitter noted that it would “accelerating several of our pre-existing security workstreams and improvements to our tools” and also improve its procedure for identifying and stopping unwarranted access to its backend.