Florida Teen Behind July Twitter Hacks

By Ben Hamill - August 05 2020
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Florida Teen Behind July Twitter Hacks

A 17-year-old teen from Florida in the US has been identified as the alleged mastermind behind the massive July Twitter hack that saw the accounts of several high-profile individuals and corporations compromised.

The alleged teen mastermind behind the hack gained unlawful access to accounts belonging to the likes of Bill Gates, former US president Barack Obama, Apple, Uber, Space X and Tesla boss Elon Musk, and many others. According to a statement issued by the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office, the investigation involved the IRS, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, and the Northern California US Attorney’s Office. Local Florida law enforcement agencies also contributed to the successful identification and arrest of the suspect.

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Pulling A Bit-Con

The teen now faces at least 30 different felony charges, ranging from a single count of Organised Fraud to 10 counts of Fraudulent Use of Personal Information. Other charges include counts of Communications Fraud and a count of Accessing a Computer or Electronic Device Without Authority (running a scheme to defraud).

Worst of all is that while the crimes may have targeted high-profile individuals and companies, they were hardly the eventual victims, having lost not much more than the right to online privacy. The teen had hacked the accounts in question in an attempt to extort money from social media users by asking followers to make contributions to Bitcoin accounts in return for a double return on their investments. This, claimed the young mastermind on behalf of its high-profile victims, was essentially a way to give back to followers and fans.

Worst of all is that even though this – in retrospect - may seem as everyday an internet scam as it gets, the teen still managed to con “fans” out of at least $100,000 (all in a single day’s work, no less). And since the money was raised in Bitcoin, which is a cryptocurrency known and used for its anonymity, changes are the funds are gone for good. 

Fraud Is Always Wrong

State Attorney Andrew Warren has in the meantime declared war on all types of fraud, and in particular on the massive fraud orchestrated right in his office’s backyard. Warren condemned the teen’s actions and emphasised that conning people out of their hard-earned money is never the right thing to do – no matter who or how old the perpetrator, or whatever the motivation for the crime.

Three more arrests have since been made, including another unnamed juvenile. Police have not yet confirmed whether all three of the new arrests – or in fact any – were involved in the high-profile accounts scam.

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