17-Year-Old 'Mastermind', 2 Others Behind the Biggest Twitter Hack Arrested
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Mason Sheppard, aka "Chaewon," 19, from the United Kingdom, Nima Fazeli, aka "Rolex," 22, from Florida and an unnamed juvenile was charged this week with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the intentional access of a protected computer.
Florida news channel WFLA has identified a teen named 17-year-old Graham Clark of Tampa Bay also arrested this week in connection with the Twitter hack, who probably is the juvenile that U.S. Department of Justice mentioned in its press release.
Graham Clark has reportedly been charged with 30 felonies of communications and organized fraud for scamming hundreds of people using compromised accounts.
On July 15, Twitter faced the biggest security lapse in its history after an attacker managed to hijack nearly 130 high-profile twitter accounts, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Uber, and Apple.
The broadly targeted hack posted similarly worded messages urging millions of followers of each profile to send money to a specific bitcoin wallet address in return for larger payback.
"Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time," a tweet from Mr. Gates' account said. "You send $1,000; I send you back $2,000."
The targeted profiles also include some popular
cryptocurrency-focused accounts, such as Bitcoin, Ripple, CoinDesk,
Gemini, Coinbase, and Binance.
The scheme helped the attackers reap more than $100,000 in Bitcoin within just a few hours.
As suspected on the day of the attack, Twitter later admitted that the attacker(s) compromised its employees' accounts with access to internal tools to gain unauthorized access to the targeted profiles.
"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 Anderson.
"Today's charging announcement demonstrates that the elation of nefarious hacking into a secure environment for fun or profit will be short-lived. 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."
This is a developing story and will be updated as additional
details become available.