One British man, one Florida man, and a Florida teen were charged in one of the most public Twitter hacks in recent memory. They managed to hack the Twitter accounts of prominent politicians, athletes, and business moguls to scam people around the globe of around $100,000 in Bitcoin.
Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was arrested in Tampa where he will be prosecuted as an adult. Mason Sheppard of the U.K., 19, and Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, are the three men charged in the hack. The 17-year-old will face 30 felony charges.
In one of the most perplexing scams I’ve ever heard of, the hackers were able to infiltrate the accounts of Barrack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Elon Musk, and Kanye West. From their accounts, they tweeted that anyone who sent $1,000 in Bitcoin would receive $2,000 back. Somehow, this managed to pull in $100,000 for them as people around the globe scurried to send Bitcoin to the address.
While the incident was investigated by the Department of Justice and the FBI, the case was eventually turned over to the Florida courts because Florida allows minors to be charged as adults in financial fraud cases.
From the perspective of federal authorities, hackers enjoy far too much anonymity in digital spaces where they can carry out attacks that compromise financial information or defraud people of thousands of dollars.
The Department of Justice characterized the attack as “amateurish” and “sloppy.” They said the hack relied on compromising key employees through their phone, a process called phishing. After compromising the employees, the hackers were able to gain access to their credentials. They managed to send tweets from 45 accounts and were able to read direct messages and personal correspondence.
Two of the three hackers were discovered after authorities were able to find ledger transactions from Bitcoin. Bitcoin, for those who know, is a dynamic ledger that records transactions from one person to the next. The process is supposedly anonymous, but in this case, investigators were able to trace the blockchain back to the hackers.
Should the Hacker Be Charged as an Adult?
This is a serious situation for federal authorities. The fear is that if they extend leniency to the 17-year-old, then 17-year-olds will go out and conduct more hacks of this nature, often aided by more experienced hackers who can use them as legal shields. We already see this type of thing when it comes to drug distribution.
The second issue for the teen is that the U.S. Department of Justice wants to send a stern message to others who have operated far too comfortably stealing money, committing fraud, and compromising sensitive data.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve been implicated in a Twitter hack used to trick people out of their Bitcoin, then you’re facing serious charges. Call The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to learn more about how our West Palm Beach criminal attorneys can protect you from government overreach and prosecutorial speculation.