American law enforcement agencies claim they managed to find cybercriminals who hacked celebrity Twitter accounts. The main defendant is a 17-year-old Florida resident.
On July 31, 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark was arrested in Tampa, Florida. He and two other accomplices are accused of hacking Twitter accounts and extorting cryptocurrency.
In mid-July, scammers organized a large-scale attack on Twitter, hacking the accounts of crypto exchanges Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Kucoin, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, Crypto•com, Tron Foundation and its creator Justin Sun, creator of Litecoin Charlie Lee, Elon Musk and Bill Gates, billionaire Jeff Bezos and American politician, US presidential candidate Joe Biden, ex-US President Barack Obama, rapper Kanye West, as well as Apple, Uber and others. Hackers tweeted about a fake distribution of 5,000 bitcoins. Traditionally, in order to receive the reward, one needed to send a small amount in cryptocurrency to the wallets indicated in the message. Hackers managed to collect more than 11 BTC to one of the mentioned addresses, that is equivalent to more than $100,000.
According to a New York Times report, Graham Clark became very interested in computer games as a child. His parents divorced when he was 7 years old. At the age of 10, he spent hours playing Minecraft, trying to forget about the problems in the family. He and his sister were raised by his mother, Emilia Clark, a Russian immigrant who worked as a real estate broker in the United States.
At the age of 15, Graham joined a hacker online forum, and at the age of 16 he was already actively used cryptocurrencies and was even involved in the case of the theft of $856,000 in bitcoins. At that time, charges were never brought against him. But the teenager’s life mysteriously changed. On Instagram, he flaunts in designer sneakers and with a Rolex watch on his wrist. At a Florida hearing last week, the attorney revealed that Clark controls at least 300 BTC worth about $3.3 million. The court ordered $725,000 bail for him.
Graham’s acquaintances remember him as an extremely emotional person who did not like school and noisy companies.
The arrest of the group of hackers was carried out by the Florida State Police, and the search for the criminal was conducted in cooperation with the Federal Security Service (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the US Secret Service.
Clark is charged with 30 counts, including fraud by a group of individuals, identity theft, and hacking. According to prosecutors, he worked with at least two other accomplices, 22-year-old Nima aka Rolex Fazeli from Orlando and 19-year-old Mason aka Chaewon Sheppard from the UK. It was thanks to the fact that Sheppard used his driver’s license to verify accounts on Binance and Coinbase that the police were able to reach the hackers.
Fazeli faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sheppard faces 20 years in prison and the same fine.