Game over: 17-year-old teenager accused in Twitter hacking

American law enforcement officers organized a press conference, at which they announced the arrest of the main “ideological mastermind” of the Twitter hack. A 17-year-old Florida teenager Graham Ivan Clark, apparently known online under the pseudonym Kirk, is accused of hacking Twitter.

A joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS, the Justice Department, and the Secret Service helped to identify the alleged hacker’s accomplices. Were also named two other young men: 19-year-old Mason Sheppard (“Chaewon”) from the UK and 22-year-old Nima Fasely (“Rolex”) from Florida.

It is known that Graham Ivan Clark has already been charged with 30 counts, including:

  • financial fraud (over $50,000);
  • communication fraud (over $300);
  • Fraud with the use of personal data (more than $100,000 or more than 30 victims);
  • abuse of personal data;
  • unauthorized access to a computer or electronic device (by conspiracy to commit fraudulent activities).

Law enforcers said that it is not worth making a discount on the hacker’s age, since it was an extremely complex attack on an unprecedented scale. The fact that Graham Ivan Clarke managed to get only $100,000 per day is due to the fact that he was quickly caught. But it’s not just about money, this hack could destabilize financial markets, both in America and around the world, because the hacker gained access to the accounts of opinion leaders and politicians. He could hurt American politics and international diplomacy.

“This is not a game, these are serious crimes with serious consequences. If you think you can fool people online and get away with this one, you will be bitterly disappointed. A bitter disappointment will overtake you at 6 am when federal agents knock on your door”, — said Hillsborough Attorney Andrew Warren.

Interestingly, Clacre will now be tried as an adult, as the case takes place in Tampa, where he lives. Florida laws allow the prosecution and trial of minors as adults for financial fraud.

teenager accused of hacking Twitter
Graham Ivan Clark

Let me remind you that in mid-July, Twitter faced the largest attack ever. Many accounts of public people, companies, and cryptocurrency exchanges have been compromised. So, among the victims were: Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Warren Buffett, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Apple and Uber, the largest cryptocurrency exchanges CoinDesk, Binance and Gemini.

The attackers used the gained access to the top accounts by arranging a fake distribution of bitcoins. The scammers acted according to the classic scam scheme: on behalf of famous people and large companies, they asked to send them a small amount of cryptocurrency, promising to double and return any amount received.

“Paradoxically, even in 2020, there were many people who believed that Bill Gates, Elon Musk and other well-known companies and personalities suddenly began distributing bitcoins. As a result, in this way the scammers “earned” about 13 BTC, that is, about 120 thousand dollars”, – told the media.

Twitter reports that, according to preliminary results of the investigation, the attack was the result of the compromise of several company employees at once and affected a relatively small number of accounts. The hack affected only 130 accounts, and in 45 of them were successfully reset passwords – on behalf of these accounts, the attackers posted fraudulent messages.

For seven more accounts, the attackers downloaded all available account content using the Your Twitter Data function. Interestingly, none of these seven accounts were verified (had no blue checkmark). The attackers also separately viewed private messages of the owners of the 36 compromised accounts. Moreover, one of these accounts belonged to an unnamed Dutch politician.

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About Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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