17-Year-Old Arrested for Twitter Breach Involving Joe Biden, Barack Obama

Carla Harmon
August 1, 2020

A 19-year-old from Bognor Regis in the UK, Mason Sheppard, and Nima Fazeli, 22, from Orlando, were both charged separately, accused of benefiting from the hack. Entertainers Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, were also hacked.

"There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without effect", said US Attorney Anderson.

US Attorney David L Anderson said the arrests proved "nefarious hacking. for fun or profit" did not pay off.

Although the case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Department of Justice, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said his office is prosecuting Clark in state court because Florida law allows minors to be charged as adults in financial fraud cases when appropriate.

"Working together, we will hold this defendant accountable", Warren said. The company hasn't elaborated, but the term spear phishing means the hackers researched their targets, and then came up with a ploy to dupe them into giving up login credentials for Twitter's systems.

The targeted employees provided access to Twitter's internal systems, which is how the hackers were able to breach the accounts. In total, the hack impacted around 130 accounts. On July 16, KrebsOnSecurity wrote that just before the Twitter hack took place, a member of the social media account hacking forum OGUsers advertised they could change email address tied to any Twitter account for $250, and provide direct access to accounts for between $2,000 and $3,000 apiece.

Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has said his inbox was among those accessed.

The investigation revealed that Clark was the mastermind of the hack. He acknowledged that while he did act as a "middleman" between Kirk and others seeking to claim desirable Twitter usernames, he had nothing to do with the hijacking of the VIP Twitter accounts for the bitcoin scam that same day.

The company reportedly appreciated the "swift actions of law enforcement". Former Twitter security employees have said too many people have access to user accounts, including employees and outside contractors, and that the company management has often dragged its heels on upgrades to information security.

This seemed fairly inevitable, after it became quite clear that the Twitter hack from a few weeks ago was done by teen hackers who didn't seem to do much to cover their tracks, but officials in Florida announced the arrest of a Florida teenager for participating in the hack, followed by the DOJ announcing two others as well - a 19 year old in the United Kingdom and a 22 year old in Florida.

"A targeted Twitter employee or contractor received a message on their phones which appeared to be from Twitter's support team, and asked them to call a number", he wrote in a blog post.

Clark and one of the other participants were in custody, officials said.

Hillsborough County Jail records show Clark was booked into jail shortly after 6:30 a.m. Friday.

Other reports by iNewsToday