Three people were arrested behind a massive hack that compromised the accounts of more than 130 users including, prominent politicians, celebrities and musicians, prosecutors said.
The “mastermind” behind the attack on high-profile accounts — including former President Barack Obama and billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk — was a 17-year-old from Florida, prosecutors said Friday.
Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was behind the massive July 15 breach that limited access to Twitter, including to many high-profile members, and directed impacted users to send bitcoin to accounts associated to him, prosecutors said. He reaped $100,000 bitcoin in one day.
“These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here,” State Attorney Andrew Warren said in a statement. “This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including here in Florida.”
Clark is being charged as an adult because of the nature of the crime, prosecutors said.
Clark was arrested and charged with organized fraud, 17 counts of communications fraud, fraudulent use of personal information over $100,000, 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information and one count of access to a computer or electronic device without authority.
Clark was not the only person involved, officials said.
Mason Sheppard, also known as “Chaewon,” 19, of Bognor Regis in the U.K., was charged in a criminal complaint in the Northern District of California with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and the intentional access of a protected computer.
Nima Fazeli, also known as "Rolex," 22, of Orlando, Florida, was also charged in a complaint in the Northern District of California with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer.
“There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence,” U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said in a statement. “Criminal conduct over the Internet may feel stealthy to the people who perpetrate it, but there is nothing stealthy about it. In particular, I want to say to would-be offenders, break the law, and we will find you.”