A 17 year-old boy has been arrested and charged with a huge Twitter hack that hit famous names including Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Elon Musk. Graham Ivan Clark was arrested at his home in Tampa, Florida, on Friday and now faces charges over the hacking scam prosecutors say netted him $100,000.
Announcing the charges, prosecutor Andrew Warren said: ‘He’s a 17 year-old kid who apparently just graduated high school. But no make no mistake, this was not an ordinary 17-year-old. This was a highly sophisticated attack on a magnitude not seen before.
‘This was a massive fraud orchestrated right here in our own back yard and we won’t stand for that.’
Clark’s alleged scheme saw him steal the accounts of luminaries on July 15. He then posted messages on their official verified accounts asking their hundreds of millions of followers to send Bitcoin cryptocurrency into accounts he is said to have created.
Those messages falsely promised anyone that sent the famous names Bitcoin twice as much money back. It forced Twitter to bar ‘verified’ users whose blue tick proves their identity from posting while it repaired its security.
One fraudulent message issued from presidential nominee Joe Biden’s account said: ‘I am giving back to the community. All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000. Only doing this for 30 minutes … Enjoy!’
Other users hacked included Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, billionaire Warren Buffett, boxer Floyd Mayweather and rapper Kanye West.
Investigators say Bitcoin was used in the scam because it is difficult for them to establish a paper trail even if sent fraudulently. Clark has been charged with felony fraud over $50,000, 17 counts of communications fraud and 10 counts of identity theft.
He is due to appear in court Saturday. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Clark was able to embark on his scheme by compromising an unnamed Twitter worker and exploiting the social media giant’s own internal software.
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