Three men have been charged by the authorities over the major Twitter breach earlier this month that hacked the accounts of high-profile U.S. figures to perpetrate a Bitcoin scam that netted at least $100,000 in bitcoins.
Florida prosecutors said 17-year-old Graham Clark of Tampa masterminded the scheme and charged him as an adult – as allowed by Florida laws in case of financial fraud - with 30 felony counts of fraud.
Mason Sheppard, a 19-year-old from Bognor Regis, UK who used the alias 'Chaewon' online, was also charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and intentional access of a protected computer.
Nima Fazeli, a 22-year-old man from Orlando, Florida, was charged with aiding and abetting access of a protected computer.
On 15 July, the hackers hijacked 45 Twitter verified accounts of U.S. celebrities including former president Barack Obama, entrepreneur Elon Musk, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, candidate president Joe Biden, Microsoft's Bill Gates, and reality TV star Kim Kardashian West. The profiles were then used to share tweets inviting followers to transfer $1,000 in bitcoins to an anonymous Bitcoin address to receive $2,000 in return.
While the hacking scam was unfolding, Twitter blocked all its verified accounts from tweeting for several hours, a measure unprecedented for the platform. The company reportedly appreciated the "swift actions of law enforcement."