A teenager from Florida was arrested to be a suspect of hacking activities on Twitter. His “victims” are even not common people but popular public figures in the world. Yes, some accounts that have been successfully hacked by the teenager are owned by famous names like Elon Musk, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Jeff Bezos, Barrack Obama, Bill Gates, and even Joe Biden. So, who is the hacker actually?
A 17-Year-Old Boy
He is Graham Clark, a 17-year-old boy who was finally known as the mastermind of some account hacks on Twitter. The case began when some of the “victims” including Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and Kanye West tweeted about the Bitcoin fraud that has happened on June 15. A team from the FBI responded to the report immediately along with some other agencies including IRS and Florida officials. They arrested the teenager in Tampa, Florida, the US.
Based on the results of the investigation, Clark was not alone in doing his action. He hacked the accounts along with 2 friends who are older than him. They were Nima Fazeli, 22 years old, and Mason Sheppard 19 years old. Uniquely, the three of them were not doing their actions in the same location. While Clark is in Florida, Fazeli lived in Orlando and Shepperd is from the UK. According to the US Department of Justice, those perpetrators use usernames Rolex and Chaewon.
Fazeli and Sheppard were arrested first
At the beginning, FBI announced they have arrested a total of two people in the hacking case. But later, an underage boy confessed to FBI that he had helped those two suspects, particularly Chaewon, to sell access to a Twitter account. The underage boy said that he is from California instead.
However, based on the official statement released by the FBI, they didn’t simply trust the report as they have believed that it was Clark who did the hacking actions along with the 2 suspects arrested before. Uniquely, Clark, the youngest one from Tampa, was the only person who got the exclusive access to the Twitter internal tool and did the fraud directly.
The report from the FBI also explained the chronology of how the actions were done by the youngsters. Clark convinced a Twitter employee that he worked in the IT department in the same company. He did it so that the employee wanted to give him official access to one of the biggest social media platforms. Then, Clarke cooperated with the other two suspects to hack the accounts of many public figures. The activities were then followed by tweets and reports by those figures in attempts to inform their followers.
Arrests and Punishments
Shepperd was successfully traced because he used his private SIM card to verify himself when trading using Cryptocurrencies; Binance and Coinbase. His account was known to send and receive Bitcoins as result of skimming. The same thing also happened to Fazeli. He also used his private SIM card to verify Coinbase. He named his account Rolex to receive the payment.
Following the cybercrime action that they have done, Fazeli is sentenced to 5 years in prison and a money fine of USD 250,000 for the computer intrusion action he has done. Meanwhile, Sheppard was charged with computer hacking, network fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy and he is sentenced to 20 years in jail and a money fine of USD 250,000.
It was really surprising the first time since Fazeli and Sheppard were only intermediaries. There was a bigger hacker with the username Kirk#5270 who was believed to get access to the Twitter internal system on July 22. Previously, it was not clear enough whether it is really Clark or not who was behind the account. But based on the newest release by the FBI, it seems that Clark is really the mastermind of the action.
More Indictments for Clark
Of course, as the mastermind, there are more indictments given to Clark. The judge of Hillsborough, Andrew Warren, files at least 30 indictments to him. Warren stated that Clark has used famous people to do cybercrimes. Well, but those people were not the main victims here. Their accounts were hacked to rob money from people from all over the US, including in Clark’s hometown, Florida.
However, despite all the crimes that have been done by the 17-year-old teenager, in his press conference, the persecutor didn’t file Clark for all of his action. It is because the law in Florida said that they will not punish underage kids. Sure, there are controversies surrounding the case. But this is what the law has written anyway.