Florida teen accused of being ‘mastermind’ behind celebrity Twitter hack – TechCrunch


Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren introduced as we speak that he has filed 30 felony expenses towards a 17-year-old resident of Tampa, Florida, who was described by Warren’s workplace as “the mastermind of the recent hack of Twitter .”

The hack in query occurred earlier this month and involved high-profile Twitter users like Apple, Elon Musk, Joe Biden and Barack Obama, whose accounts all posted messages selling a Bitcoin pockets and claiming, “All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled!”

The teen (we’re not figuring out them as a result of they’re a minor) allegedly made greater than $100,000 via this cryptocurrency rip-off.

The state lawyer’s workplace mentioned that the teen was arrested earlier as we speak after an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice, and that they are going to be tried as an grownup. They face expenses together with one rely of organized fraud (over $50,000) and 17 counts of communications fraud (over $300).

“These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here,” Warren mentioned in a press release. “This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including here in Florida. This massive fraud was orchestrated right here in our backyard, and we will not stand for that.”

As we reported on the time, the hack used Twitter’s own internal administrative tool to realize entry to high-profile accounts. In a tweet, the corporate mentioned, “We appreciate the swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses. For our part, we are focused on being transparent and providing updates regularly.”

Earlier as we speak, Twitter up to date its blog post outlining what it knows about the attack:

The social engineering that occurred on July 15, 2020, focused a small quantity of staff via a cellphone spear phishing assault. A profitable assault required the attackers to acquire entry to each our inner community in addition to particular worker credentials that granted them entry to our inner assist instruments. Not all of the workers that had been initially focused had permissions to make use of account administration instruments, however the attackers used their credentials to entry our inner techniques and achieve details about our processes. This information then enabled them to focus on extra staff who did have entry to our account assist instruments. Using the credentials of staff with entry to those instruments, the attackers focused 130 Twitter accounts, in the end Tweeting from 45, accessing the DM inbox of 36, and downloading the Twitter Data of 7.

To stop an identical assault from succeeding sooner or later, Twitter mentioned will probably be “accelerating several of our pre-existing security workstreams and improvements to our tools” and in addition enhancing the strategies it makes use of to detect and cease inappropriate entry to its inner techniques.

Update: In an announcement of its personal, the Justice Department three folks had been really charged for his or her alleged roles within the hack — not simply the teen in Tampa, but in addition 19-year-old Mason Sheppard, a.ok.a. “Chaewon,” of the United Kingdom (accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit cash laundering and the intentional entry of a protected pc) and 22-year-old Nima Fazeli, a.ok.a. “Rolex,” of Orlando, Florida (accused of aiding and abetting the intentional entry of a protected pc), who’re each dealing with expenses within the Northern District of California.

“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.  Criminal conduct over the Internet may feel stealthy to the people who perpetrate it, but there is nothing stealthy about it.  In particular, I want to say to would-be offenders, break the law, and we will find you.”





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