US law enforcement officials have identified a prime suspect in the recent hacker attack on celebrity and corporate Twitter accounts. 17-year-old Graham C. was arrested in Tampa, Florida, late last week. He is said to have organized the attacks.
According to the local television broadcaster WFLA-TV, the investigation was carried out by the federal police FBI and the Ministry of Justice as well as the IRS and Secret Service. Charges were also brought against two other suspects who allegedly helped the teenager.
The suspect is said to have access to internal systems of July 15and have control over multiple accounts of celebrities and well-known companies. He then tweeted on their behalf to tempt users to donate Bitcoin. The accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were affected and over.
The scam likely earned the perpetrators more than $ 100,000 in one day. As a result, the public prosecutor accuses the 17-year-old of organized fraud, communication fraud, fraudulent use of personal data and unauthorized access to computers.
The authorities named 19-year-old Mason S. from Bognor Regis in Great Britain and 22-year-old Nima F. from Orlando in the US state of Florida as additional suspects. It is unclear whether the two men were also arrested.
The attack on prominent Twitter users had made headlines worldwide. Among other things, the perpetrators managed to undermine security measures such as two-factor authentication – for the accounts of the victims and also for the accounts of Twitter employees, through which the hackers entered the internal systems. The hack also made it clear that Twitter support employees have very extensive permissions, with former employees accusing them of being too far-reaching.
In addition, some victims of the scam were very lucky. Among other things, the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase became aware of the incident promptly and blocked payments of around $ 280,000 to the hackers. Only 14 users of Coinbase managed to transfer a total of around $ 3,000 to the hackers.