The Department of Justice announced Friday that three individuals have been charged with the massive Twitter hack on July 15 — and the alleged mastermind of the scheme is only 17 years old.
Twitter was forced to temporarily suspend the accounts of all verified users during the course of the hack after the hackers took control of the Twitter accounts belonging to numerous famous people and companies and caused those accounts to tweet messages encouraging people to donate Bitcoin to an ostensible charity, but instead funneled the donated Bitcoin to the hackers.
The hackers managed to scam people out of well over $100,000 worth of Bitcoin during the brief time before Twitter locked out all verified users.
According to WFLA-TV, 17-year-old Graham Clark was arrested by police in Florida and charged by the Hillsborough State's Attorney's Office with 30 state law felonies related to the hack. Also, the Department of Justice announced that federal charges have been filed against Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, Florida, and Mason Sheppard, 19, of the United Kingdom. It was not immediately clear whether Fazeli and Sheppard had been taken into custody as of Friday afternoon.
The celebrities targeted by the attack included Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden and Barack Obama. Authorities say they were able to track down Clark because they were able to trace the Bitcoin to accounts that were associated with Clark.
In addition to defrauding users out of a significant amount of Bitcoin, the hack was a source of significant embarrassment for Twitter, which has scrambled to reassure users of the site's security following the hack. Twitter ultimately concluded that the hackers used a phone spear phishing attack to target certain Twitter employees.
By obtaining employee credentials, they were able to target specific employees who had access to our account suppor… https://t.co/sVbG1haciG— Twitter Support (@Twitter Support)1596156572.0
Twitter responded to news of the arrests by thanking law enforcement for their work bringing the alleged hackers to justice, and by promising users that further steps are being taken to ensure that a similar attack does not happen again.
We appreciate the swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case… https://t.co/mZbA74dqpi— Twitter Comms (@Twitter Comms)1596220385.0