DOJ And Florida Officials Announce Arrests Relating To Twitter Hack

from the that-didn't-take-long dept

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 UK and a 22 year old in Florida.

As for why the first announced was separate and done by Florida officials, it appears that it involved a 17-year-old, and apparently it was easier to charge him as an adult under state laws, rather than under federal law, as with the other two.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren filed 30 felony charges against the teen this week for ?scamming people across America? in connection with the Twitter hack that happened on July 15. The charges he?s facing include one count of organized fraud, 17 counts of communications fraud, one count of fraudulent use of personal information with over $100,000 or 30 or more victims, 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information and one count of access to computer or electronic device without authority.

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

Warren?s office says the scheme to defraud ?stole the identities of prominent people? and ?posted messages in their names directing victims to send Bitcoin? to accounts that were associated with the Tampa teen. According to the state attorney, the scheme reaped more than $100,000 in Bitcoin in just one day.

Once again, it’s looking like we got incredibly lucky — that it was just some young hackers mostly messing around, rather than anyone with serious ill-intent and the ability to plan something bigger. It now appears that Twitter’s internal security controls were kind of a mess. Over 1,000 employees had access to the control panel that would allow people to make the changes that enabled the hack — and even that some staffers and contractors somehow made it a game to abuse their powers to spy on users.

Once again, it seems that Twitter needs to fix up a lot of things on the security side, including figuring out how to do end-to-end encryption for direct messages.

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Comments on “DOJ And Florida Officials Announce Arrests Relating To Twitter Hack”

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21 Comments
hij (profile) says:

Twitter Taken Seriously

How did we get to the point where a message site specializing in missives a couple sentences long is taken seriously. Even if their security and practices were much better it still specializes in sending what are basically text messages. The idea that anything on such a site is taken seriously or has any impact is shocking.

We cannot even blame it on the kids. They seem to have a better overall understanding what a silly platform it is.

Isaais says:

Re: How did we get to this point

… gullible people are both the victims and cause here.

Most half-way intelligent people know to be wary of blindly sending money to strangers.
But half of Americans have an IQ below 100.

The specific method of communication by which scammers solicit money from suckers is unimportant — postal mail, door-knockers, flyers, radio/tv, internet, phone, FAX, fly by night local meetings & in-person marketing events, pyramid schemes, etc, etc.
Phony charities have been around forever.

Scams and Suckers have always thrived due to their abundance in society.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: How did we get to this point

You have to really chalk it up for education these days. Sure, seventeen is a little old now for perpetrating such a genius if not illegal hack, kids usually crack these type of shinanigans around the age of twelve, long before they have had ample time to ponder what a life behind bars would actually mean.

tp (profile) says:

Some 17 year old kids managed to get access to $100k bitcoins

When the info became public that you can get $100k worth of bitcoins in a day by having access to high profile twitter accounts, the bad actors are immediately going to start doing the same thing. It’s just ingenious how easily the teens managed to do it.

I have worked for whole life and it’s a magnificient day when I see $100k worth of money, much less earn the buggers in one day.

Damn teens can beat me in the task of obtaining funds.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Some 17 year old kids managed to get access to $100k bitcoin

I think they made most of that money before attacking the high-profile accounts, when they went after… bitcoin-related accounts.

Any famous person paying the ransom is an idiot, just like hospitals and others who pay for ransomware.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Some 17 year old kids managed to get access to $100k bit

When its an individual who has been hacked, they don’t lose like a system that thousands rely on like a hospital that may lose invaluable data or access. They got to pay up, I think it is logical.. then track those motherfuckers down and put them all in chokeholds.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Some 17 year old kids managed to get access to $100k bit

I think you misunderstand what happened here. It wasn’t a ransomware-style attack where the account is blocked until they get paid. This was a straight-up scam, where the accounts were hijacked in order to send out messages requesting bitcoin, and hoping that the fame and generally verified status of the hijacked accounts fooled enough people into thinking the promise of bitcoin in return was real.

No famous person paid anything, AFAIK. Their fans on the other hand…

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