Last month, several high-profile Twitter accounts, including Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Joe Biden and Apple Inc., were hacked to facilitate a Bitcoin scam. The fake tweets claim that donations deposited into Bitcoin accounts will receive a dollar of equal compensation and will be donated to charities supporting COVID-19 work.
Last month, 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark was arrested on suspicion of hijacking more than 100 Twitter accounts. More details show that the teenager has a previous case of swindling others online. Some of Clark’s friends told the New York Times that he often “sells” so-called Minecraft items to other players, charging them for money but never shipping them.
In a similar investigation in 2019, authorities seized $15,000 in cash and more than $3 million worth of bitcoins from the teenager. The fraudster also boasted on his now-deleted Instagram account that he had uploaded images of Rolex watches and designer sneakers, but he was never prosecuted after the money was returned.
This time, authorities stopped taking care of the teenager, who now faces 30 felony charges for his involvement in hijacking the verified Twitter accounts of more than 100 prominent people and organizations and causing quite a stir on the Internet.
The U.S. Department of Justice released the names of two other people involved in the fraud. Mason Sheppard, a 19-year-old Briton, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to launder money and intentionally entering a protected computer. Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, Florida, is charged with aiding and inciting intentional access to a protected computer. Both were indicted in the Northern District of California. Clark, who is a minor, will face federal juvenile lawsuits in Tampa’s 13th District.
The gang reportedly used social engineering to give Twitter employees access to “internal systems.”
“This attack relied on an important, concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems.” The company said in a statement. They somehow gained access to Twitter’s Slack message panel, resulting in a well-designed scam. From there, they can convince others that they have legal tool access and can take over any account.