An epic Twitter hacking occurred recently, and there was a tech-manhunt for the attackers by the e-police wing of FBI, and other anti-fraud agencies in the United States. However, on Friday a 17–year-old Tampa teenager was arrested in Florida for allegedly being the “mastermind” behind the July 15 Twitter hack that saw a great number of high profile accounts compromised. He was not alone, about three other young people are also in his hacking ring. His case is eyebrow raising because, he happens to be younger than the other accomplices, but also the epic Twitter hacking money heist.
This epic twitter hacking money heist that occurred on July 15 2020 involved a British man, a Florida man and a Florida teen – who is the master-mind. These three guys hacked the Twitter accounts of prominent politicians, celebrities and technology moguls to scam people around globe out of more than USD 100,000 in Bitcoin.
The July 15 epic Twitter hack master-mind, Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was arrested Friday in Tampa, and currently in custody from where the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office will prosecute him as adult. According to press briefing, He faces 30 felony charges. The other two are Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis, UK, and Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, were charged in California federal court.
After hacking and gaining access to about 40 plus prominent twitter accounts, and in one of the most high-profile security breaches in recent years, hackers sent out bogus tweets on July 15 from the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Celebrities Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, requeasting the unsuspecting followers of those accounts to send in monies into a bitcoin wallet and have whatever amount sent doubled in minutes.
Some of the tweets sent offered to send USD 2,000 for every USD 1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.
“There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence,” US Attorney David L Anderson for the Northern District of California said in a news release. “Today’s charging announcement demonstrates that the elation of nefarious hacking into a secure environment for fun or profit will be short-lived.” Although the case against the teen was also investigated by the FBI and the US Department of Justice, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren explained that his office is prosecuting Clark in Florida state court because Florida law allows minors to be charged as adults in financial fraud cases such as this when appropriate. In a formal ground, a teen that could pull such an epic twitter hacking, despite the security measures taken by the social media platform to secure its users from security breaches ought to be charged as an adult.
“This defendant lives here in Tampa, he committed the crime here, and he’ll be prosecuted here,” Warren said.
Twitter previously said hackers used the phone to fool the social media company’s employees into giving them access. It said hackers targeted “a small number of employees through a phone spear-phishing attack.” “This attack relied on a significant and concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems,” the company tweeted.
After stealing employee credentials and getting into Twitter’s systems, the hackers were able to target other employees who had access to account support tools, the company said.
The hackers targeted 130 accounts. They managed to tweet from 45 accounts, access the direct message inboxes of 36, and download the Twitter data from seven. Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders has said his inbox was among those accessed.
Spear-phishing is a more targeted version of phishing, an impersonation scam that uses email or other electronic communications to deceive recipients into handing over sensitive information.
Twitter said it would provide a more detailed report later “given the ongoing law enforcement investigation.” The company has previously said the incident was a “coordinated social engineering attack” that targeted some of its employees with access to internal systems and tools.
It didn’t provide any more information about how the attack was carried out, but the details released so far suggest the hackers started by using the old-fashioned method of talking their way past security.
British cybersecurity analyst Graham Cluley said his guess was that a targeted Twitter employee or contractor received a message by phone asking them to call a number.
“When the worker called the number they might have been taken to a convincing (but fake) helpdesk operator, who was then able to use social engineering techniques to trick the intended victim into handing over their credentials,” Clulely wrote Friday on his blog.
It’s also possible the hackers pretended to call from the company’s legitimate help line by spoofing the number, he said.
For more on that news, do visit BBC for updates on that case.