A 17-year-old teen and two other 19 and 22-year-old individuals are arrested who were behind the biggest twitter attack that happened on 15th July 2020. It is one of the most disastrous cyber attack in the history of social media.
In this attack, the accounts of various prominent personalities including former U.S. President Barack Obama, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, TESLA founder Elon Musk and many more were hacked, and tweets were made directing the people towards a bitcoin scam.
The tweet consisted of a bitcoin address where it claimed the amount would be doubled if invested. The scam, even being so dubious, received a massive response from the public, and an amount of around $117,000 was deposited. However, the attacker did not hack current U.S. President Donald Trump’s account, and it was reported safe by the authorities. To tackle the situation and prevent further damage, twitter at the time had temporarily prevented all the verified accounts to tweet.
Twitter has a significant influence on media and politics. So, the attack raised many concerns on the issue of cybersecurity and the platform’s reliability, especially given the current year is an election year in America.
At the time of the investigation, the authorities revealed that it might be a co-ordinated social engineering attack that gave the hacker access to internal systems and communications. The report revealed that 130 accounts were targeted out of which 45 accounts were accessed to tweet, the inbox of 36 accounts were accessed, and data of 7 accounts were downloaded.
According to the U.S. Department of justice, The mastermind behind the attack had been identified recently. Unexpectedly, a 17-year-old boy, Graham Ivan Clark from Florida, had been arrested along with his associate Mason John Sheppard from the U.K. and Nima Fazeli from the state of Orlando. Clark is a recent graduate. Clark broke into the system by phishing a twitter employee and accessing their internal systems.
Even after their efficient plan, these three culprits left hints of their real identities at various points, which enabled the law enforcement agencies to track them down. They have used their own driving license for verifying their identity on a crypto exchange. The Secret Service seized more than $700,000 of Bitcoin from Clark in April, according to the New York Times. Then came the 15th July hack, which authorities said Clark was the “mastermind” behind. Clark has been charged with 30 felony charges, and he is charged as an adult because of severity of the crimes.
Nowadays, social media is becoming a part of people’s lives at an alarming rate, and it is leaving them vulnerable to such heinous cyber attacks. The hackers plan such attacks with different motives, from financial scams to blackmailing. However, Twitter has repeatedly apologized for the security breach that happened and has promised that it will ensure more restrictions for the employees to access the internal information.