FBI Arrests Florida Teen and Two Other People for Twitter Hack in July Involving Bitcoin Scam

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by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
FBI Arrests Florida Teen and Two Other People for Twitter Hack in July Involving Bitcoin Scam
Photo: Depositphotos

The early investigation in the matter shows that the Florida teen managed to convince a Twitter IT department employee and tricked him into getting insider access and the credential of the Twitter accounts of some famous personalities.

Law enforcement agencies are getting some big leads with respect to the people involved in the biggest Twitter hack incident in mid-July. On Friday, July 31, the FBI, U.S. Service, IRS, and Florida law enforcement have charged three people for the hack.

Florida’s law-enforcement agencies say that a 17-year-old native teen Graham Ivan Clark “was the mastermind” behind the attack. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Justice has also caught hold of two more people involved in the attack. The identities revealed, name a 22-year-old Nima Fazeli in Orlando and 19-year-old Mason Sheppard in the UK. According to the DOJ, both the hackers are popular as aliases “Rolex” and “Chaewon,” respectively.

The FBI has updated that both these individuals are currently under arrest and within their custody. Besides, an unidentified minor has also admitted his/her involvement in the hacking incident, to the federal agents. The minor said that they have helped Chaewon get access to the Twitter accounts.

The 17-year-old teen faces over 30 state felony changes and might face some federal charges as well. Besides, all the accused are charged with “conspiracy to commit money-laundering”, “conspiracy to commit wire fraud”, and international access of the protected computer. The Federal authorities have charged Orlando’s Nima Fazeli specifically for aiding the intentional access of a protected computer.

In what looks like an organized hacking incident, the hackers targeted Twitter accounts of some of the top personalities like Kayne West, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, and others. Andrew Warren, Hillsborough state attorney told the NBC News:

“This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including here in Florida. This massive fraud was orchestrated right here in our backyard, and we will not stand for that”.

17-Year Old Teen Graham Clark the Major Accused of Twitter Hack

In the affidavit released, the authorities believe that the Florida teen Clark was able to secure access to Twitter’s internal tools and security. He allegedly managed to convince a Twitter employee from the IT department and tricked him into getting the access. The affidavit reads:

“Clark without authorization gain [sic] access to Twitter Inc.’s Customer Service Portal. Clack used social engineering to convince a Twitter employee that he was a co-worker in the IT department and had the employee provide credentials to access the customer service portal. Clark received approximately $117,000 during the commission of his scheme to defraud.”

Speaking about the incident, Graham’s mother, Emiliya Clark, said that her son is innocent. “I believe he didn’t do it. I’ve spoken to him every day,” she said. “I’m devastated.” However, the state attorney has said that since Clark lives in Florida, he “will be prosecuted there”.

In a stern message to the offenders and the overall hacker community, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said:

“There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence. 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.”

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Bhushan Akolkar

Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair in understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In free time he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explore his culinary skills.

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