A Florida teen was arrested yesterday after hacking 130 celebrity Twitter accounts for Bitcoin scam in company’s largest security breach.
On July 15th, Twitter suffered the biggest security and privacy breach in its 14-year history. Some of the world’s most influential figures had their accounts hacked in a Bitcoin scam, including billionaires such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.
This data breach was described by some as a ‘global security crisis’, and an urgent investigation was instantly opened by the FBI. On July 31st, 2020 — a full 16 days after the initial attack — three arrests were made, including a 17-year-old boy from Tampa, Florida.
Twitter hacker Graham Clark, 17, arrested for hacking 130 high profile Twitter accounts. (Source: Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)
Identified as Graham Clark by a prosecutor, the 17-year-old was charged with 30 felony charges for allegedly being the mastermind behind the hack. Clark was charged as an adult for his central role in the Twitter hack, which scammed over $100,000 in Bitcoins from users worldwide.
How The Hack Worked
According to a statement made by Twitter representatives, Graham used social engineering tactics to obtain internal systems access from Twitter employees. It was later revealed in a VICE Media article that the hackers paid at least one Twitter employee to change the emails of various celebrity accounts, effectively giving the hackers access.
Whenever the hackers gained entry to an account, it was made to tweet the same message, which urged followers to send money to an anonymous BitCoin address, promising to reimburse double the payment amount.
Elon Musk was targeted by this attack, as shown by this tweet. The tweet has since been deleted.
Two accomplices — both over the age of 18 — were arrested for their contributing roles in the hack. The hackers were described as “sloppy” by cyber security experts, and no lasting damage was inflicted as a result of the attack. However, the fact that a 17-year-old was able to access confidential data so easily has been seen as worrying to some.
Other high-profile figures who had their accounts hacked by the Twitter hacker include:
- Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
- Kanye West, rapper and Presidential candidate
- Kim Kardashian, media personality and wife of Kanye West
- Wiz Khalifa, rapper
- XXXTentacion, former rapper who died in 2018
- Joe Biden, former US Vice President and Democratic Nominee for the 2020 Presidential Election
- MrBeast, content creator and YouTube celebrity
Despite his frequent and well-documented Twitter activity, US President Donald Trump was not affected by the hack.