A 17-year-old was charged Friday in Tampa, Florida with orchestrating the July 15 Twitter hack that compromised 130 accounts, including Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama and Elon Musk, according to the local state attorney.
Graham Ivan Clark, who recently graduated from high school, faces 30 felony charges for hacking those accounts, posting messages on their behalf and luring additional victims into sending him Bitcoin donations worth more than $100,000, authorities said. The charges include communications and organized fraud, fraudulent use of personal information and access to a computer without authority.
Federal authorities also announced charges Friday against three people for their roles in the attack, two adults and a juvenile. Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis, in the U.K, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and the intentional access of a protected computer, according to federal authorities.
Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, was charged with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer. The juvenile wasn’t identified; federal prosecutors said they referred the case to state authorities in Hillsborough County, Fla., where Clark was charged.
“There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence,” said U.S. Attorney David Anderson, of the Northern District of California. “Today’s charging announcement demonstrates that the elation of nefarious hacking into a secure environment for fun or profit will be short-lived.
State authorities will seek to charge Clark as an adult under Florida law, rather than federal, because “Florida law allows us greater flexibility to charge a minor as an adult in a financial fraud case,” said Hillsborough District Attorney Andrew Warren. “He gained access to twitter accounts and to the internal controls of Twitter through compromising a Twitter employee.”
In a statement, Twitter said, “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.”
Among the other famous names whose accounts were hijacked in the July 15 attack were Joe Biden, Bill Gates and Kanye West.
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