Three people, together with a 17-year-old Tampa teen, face fees linked to the most important breach ever on Twitter, affecting the accounts of verified figures together with Bill Gates and former President Barack Obama.
In a press release launched Friday, the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office in Florida mentioned the teenager was the “mastermind” behind the hack, which concerned posting messages on high-profile Twitter accounts soliciting bitcoin.
The teen faces 30 felony counts together with 17 counts of communications fraud, organized fraud and fraudulent use of non-public data. The teen was arrested on Friday, mentioned the legal professional’s workplace, and has been charged as an grownup.
“These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here,” mentioned Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren in a press release. “This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal cash from common Americans from everywhere in the nation, together with right here in Florida.”
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Two different people have been charged for alleged roles in the incident, mentioned the Justice Department in a press release Friday.
Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis in the United Kingdom, faces a number of fees together with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and the intentional entry of a protected pc, mentioned DOJ.
Also charged was 22-year-old Nima Fazeli of Orlando, for allegedly aiding and abetting the intentional entry of a protected pc.
“There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence,” mentioned U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson in a press release. “Today’s charging announcement demonstrates that the elation of nefarious hacking into a secure environment for fun or profit will be short-lived.”
In a separate assertion Friday, Twitter praised the “swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses.”
Earlier this month, a number of big-name accounts belonging to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and others had been compromised, displaying messages to ship bitcoin. The scheme netted greater than $100,000 in lower than an hour.
On Thursday, Twitter mentioned the hack was a “social engineering” ploy concentrating on a small variety of workers via a cellphone spear phishing assault.
Spear-phishing is a extra focused model of phishing, an impersonation rip-off that makes use of e-mail or different digital communications to deceive recipients into handing over delicate data.
“Not all of the employees that were initially targeted had permissions to use account management tools, but the attackers used their credentials to access our internal systems and gain information about our processes,” mentioned Twitter. “This knowledge then enabled them to target additional employees who did have access to our account support tools.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.