Earlier this month a number of Twitter accounts belonging to prominent, highly-followed individuals like Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos were compromised, seemingly to defraud strangers out of bitcoin. Unfettered access to potentially sensitive information contained therein generated speculation: Was the cryptocurrency gambit a front to cover up blackmail attempts or nation state-level hacking?
Nope: It was literally just some kid in Florida who made (and has now presumably lost, or at least lost ready access to) around $180,000 in bitcoin for his troubles, state authorities say. Seventeen-year-old Graham Ivan Clark was brought into Hillsborough County Jail around 6:30 am local time today, according to WFLA.
Charges for the teen, which were filed State Attorney Andrew Warren, total 30 felonies, including communications fraud, fraudulent use of personal information, and unauthorized access to a computer or electronic device. He will be charged as an adult.
An investigation into the hack—which, again, compromised a former president and a current presidential candidate and could not have used that access less ambitiously—required two weeks and help from the FBI, IRS, and Secret Service, among others, to complete. In total, the hack impacted around 130 accounts.
It’s believed the hacker was able to gain access to an internal tool used by Twitter employees, which allowed the scammer to reset the email addresses associated with the affected accounts, thereby taking control of them. Twitter has already admitted that Direct Messages sent by and to these accounts were available to the hacker, as they are not encrypted, though it’s unknown if the hacker downloaded those non-public messages.