Teenager from Bognor Regis one of three accused over Obama-Kardashian Twitter hack
31 July 2020, 20:56 | Updated: 1 August 2020, 00:27
A teenager from Bognor Regis is one of three people accused over the Twitter hack that saw the accounts of politicians and celebrities compromised.
The US Department of Justice said Mason Sheppard faces three charges.
The 19-year-old, also known as "Chaewon", has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the intentional access of a protected computer.
US attorney for the Northern District of California David Anderson said Sheppard "faces a statutory maximum penalty of 45 years of imprisonment" if convicted.
According to the criminal complaint, the attack saw around 130 accounts belonging to politicians, celebrities and musicians compromised.
Accounts belonging to Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and Bill Gates were among those affected.
At the time the company confirmed that a "co-ordinated social engineering attack" had allowed criminals to post tweets from accounts offering to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to a Bitcoin address.
The company said out of the 130 accounts targeted, 45 were used to send tweets. The criminals also accessed the DM inboxes of 36 users and downloaded the Twitter data of seven.
According to the Department of Justice, the scam Bitcoin account received more than 400 transfers worth more than $117,000 (£90,000).
Nima Fazeli, also known as "Rolex", 22, of Orlando, Florida, has been charged with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer.
The Department of Justice said charges had also been filed against a juvenile who was arrested on Friday.
Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was held in Tampa, Florida, according to the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office.
It said he would be prosecuted as an adult and is allegedly the "mastermind" behind the hack.
Clark was arrested on 30 charges, including one count of organised fraud and 17 counts of communications fraud.
"There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence," Mr Anderson said.
"Today's charging announcement demonstrates that the elation of nefarious hacking into a secure environment for fun or profit will be short-lived.
"Criminal conduct over the internet may feel stealthy to the people who perpetrate it, but there is nothing stealthy about it.
"In particular, I want to say to would-be offenders, break the law, and we will find you."
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The criminal complaint said the attack consisted of a combination of technical breaches and social engineering.
The latter is a way of describing a security breach based on convincing someone to provide access, rather than finding flaws in the software.
Twitter said it "targeted a small number of employees" who were called over the phone and tricked into providing their log-in credentials.