September 27, 2023

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Twitter hack: another teenager may have played a ‘significant role,’ report says


Twitter had a massive hack in July, raising concerns about the security of the social network.

Angela Lang/CNET

A 16-year-old in Massachusetts appears to have played an “equal, if not more significant role” in a massive Twitter hack that targeted high-profile celebrities, tech executives and politicians to spread a Bitcoin scam, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Citing four people involved in the investigation, the news outlet reported that federal agents think the teenager is partly responsible for the hack. The FBI served a search warrant on the teenager on Tuesday, according to the report. On July 15, attackers took over the Twitter accounts of former President Barack Obama, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, celebrity Kim Kardashian, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other high-profile users. Tweets sent through these accounts asked users to send Bitcoin to an address to double their payment. The scam bitcoin account racked up more than $100,000, according to the US Department of Justice. 

Twitter said that hackers tricked its employees through a phone spear phishing attack to gain control of its internal systems. The massive hack raised concerns that the company wasn’t doing enough to safeguard its site ahead of the US presidential elections.

In late July, 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark in Florida, was accused of being the “mastermind” behind the hack. The US Department of Justice also filed charges against 19-year-old UK resident Mason Sheppard and 22-year-old Florida resident Nima Fazeli, for their alleged role in the hack. 

Now authorities are reportedly looking into another teenager. Bloomberg, which spoke to the 16-year-old before the search warrant was executed, reported that the teenager denied involvement in the hack. The New York Times and Bloomberg didn’t name the individual because he is a minor and hasn’t been charged. 

A spokeswoman for the FBI said that the investigation is still ongoing. “As of today’s date, we do not have any additional information that we can make public in this case,” the FBI said in a statement. 

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