Florida Teenager Arrested as Suspect in Twitter Hack

The incident represents a major black eye for Twitter, because it indicates how easy it appeared to be to break into its platform.
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A 17-year-old Florida man has been arrested for the July 15 hack of Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Report that hijacked accounts of celebrities including Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and asked for contributions of bitcoin. 

Graham Clark of Tampa was the “mastermind” of the plot, state officials said, according to The New York Times. The incident represents a major black eye for Twitter, because it indicates how easy it appeared to be to break into its supposedly secure platform and wreak havoc.

Clark faces 30 felony charges, according to a statement from the office of Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, The Wall Street Journal reports. Clark was charged as an adult. Two other adults, a 19-year-old in the U.K. and a 22-year-old in Orlando, as well as an unidentified juvenile, were also charged for aiding in the attack, according to Bloomberg. 

Twitter said it was grateful for the apprehension of the alleged perpetrators. “We appreciate the swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses,” the company said.

The Twitter scam apparently started as an attempt to steal and sell abnormal user names. But hackers ultimately gained control of the accounts of cryptocurrency companies and celebrities. The hackers ultimately received more than $180,000 worth of bitcoin through their scam .

According to the New York Times, which spoke to hackers involved in the breach, the hackers stole log-in information from Twitter employees and then used that access to reset passwords on high-profile accounts. They then tweeted from 45 of those accounts. 

As for Clark, he was in trouble well before the Twitter caper. In April, the Secret Service seized more than $700,000 worth of Bitcoin from him, according to legal documents, The New York Times reported.

Twitter shares closed trading Friday at $36.39, down 0.90%. The stock has gained 14% year to date, compared to a 20% gain for the Nasdaq Composite. 

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