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.

Filed Under: doj, fbi, florida, hack, twitter hack


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  • identicon
    Pixelation, 31 Jul 2020 @ 9:10pm

    And the idiots who were PWNED get away scott free...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hij (profile), 1 Aug 2020 @ 3:33am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Isaais, 1 Aug 2020 @ 7:16am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2020 @ 10:13am

        Re: Re: How did we get to this point

        "But half of Americans have an IQ below 100."

        Is that because the average IQ is 85 - 114 ?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2020 @ 1:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: How

          median IQ is 100

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2020 @ 2:06pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2020 @ 4:37am

    "scamming people across America"

    I thought that is what twitter was supposed to be used for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tp (profile), 1 Aug 2020 @ 4:41am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2020 @ 12:17pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2020 @ 3:00pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 2 Aug 2020 @ 11:38pm

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

          Indeed. A hospital might pay because access to their systems is literally a life or death situation for some people. Nobody's life is at risk if they're locked out of Twitter for a few hours.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 2 Aug 2020 @ 11:37pm

        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...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 2 Aug 2020 @ 11:34pm

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

      Yes, money is easier to come by if you just steal it or obtain it through fraud rather than earn it. This is obvious.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2020 @ 7:09am

    Ahoy you scurvy dogs! The Bank of America is about to go belly up!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NaBUru38 (profile), 1 Aug 2020 @ 7:01pm

    Twitter is an asynchronous messaging website. How can it implement end-to-end encryption, when messages are stored in servers until the recepient opens the browser and logs in?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TFG, 1 Aug 2020 @ 7:38pm

      Re:

      By storing them in an encrypted state until the recipient opens the browser and logs in, and makes sure the unencrypted version is only displayed at the endpoints and nowhere in the middle?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Philosopherott (profile), 3 Aug 2020 @ 3:12pm

    Kids or Adults

    Why are we charging Children as adults for non violent crimes?

    Is there ever a reverse case where Children can choose to legally be Adults for there benefit?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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