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Florida teen pleads not guilty to masterminding Twitter hack

Tue, 4th Aug 2020 21:02

By Brad Brooks

Aug 4 (Reuters) - A 17-year-old Florida boy accused of
masterminding the hacking of celebrity accounts on Twitter Inc
, including those of Democratic presidential candidate
Joe Biden and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, pled not guilty
to charges on Tuesday.

Graham Clark told Circuit Court Judge Christopher Nash in
Tampa that he was not guilty of the 30 felony counts of fraud
prosecutors have leveled against him, according to court
records.

Clark is scheduled to appear in court again on Wednesday for
a hearing on a request to change his $750,000 bond and
conditions of release. Clark's attorney, David Weisbrod, did not
immediately return a call seeking comment.

A 19-year-old British man and a 22-year-old man in Orlando,
Florida, have also been charged under U.S. federal law with
aiding the attack, the Justice Department said.

Clark netted at least $100,000 from the scheme by using the
celebrity accounts to solicit investments from unsuspecting
Twitter users, state officials said.

Mason Sheppard, a 19-year-old from Bognor Regis, Britain,
who used the alias Chaewon, was charged with wire fraud and
money laundering while Orlando-based Nima Fazeli, 22, nicknamed
Rolex, was accused of aiding and abetting the crimes, according
to a Justice Department statement.

In the hack, fraudulent tweets soliciting investments in the
digital currency bitcoin were posted in mid-July by 45 verified
Twitter accounts, including those belonging to Biden, former
President Barack Obama and billionaire Bill Gates. Twitter said
the hackers also likely read some direct messages, including
those of a Dutch elected official.

More than $100,000 was obtained, bitcoin's public ledger
showed.

Twitter has previously said its employees were duped into
sharing account credentials.

Authorities provided new details Friday in an affidavit
alleging that Clark "used social engineering to convince a
Twitter employee that he was a co-worker in the IT department
and had the employee provide credentials to access the customer
service portal."
(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Editing by Aurora
Ellis)

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