Tech DeveloPment

Unprecedented Twitter hack conspirators may include a 16-year-old from Massachusetts

Unprecedented Twitter hack

A new report from The New York Times reveals a new suspect in the investigation of the unprecedented Twitter hack that happened in July this year. The report shows that a 16-year-old from Massachusetts may have played a significant role in the July 15 Twitter attack, according to the authorities and his fellow attackers. 

So far, the new suspect would be the youngest hack conspirator of the group who has successfully pulled off account takeovers of a dozen high-profile Twitter users to conduct a Bitcoin scam.

In July, the authorities arrested Graham Ivan Clark, who was supposedly the “mastermind” behind the unprecedented Twitter hack attack, and who was later charged as an adult with 30 felonies. Back then, what struck everybody was that Graham is only 17 years old. Yet, new findings have made federal agents serve a 16-year-old from Massachusetts with a search warrant as they think that the 16-year-old may have actually played an equal, if not bigger, role in the Twitter massive attack. 

The group of conspirators now totals four individuals: Graham Ivan Clark, 19-year-old Mason John Sheppard, 22-year-old Nima Fazeli, and the 16-year-old from Massachusetts. 

Twitter’s massive attack in July exposed serious security issues

On July 15, supposedly, the conspirators’ group has compromised high-profile Twitter accounts of major companies and individuals and promoted a bitcoin scam that helped the hackers earn about $120.000. 

Now, the amount earned by the hackers doesn’t seem like a huge amount of money. Yet, the hack did raise a far deeper concern than the money: the security risks of the social media giant. According to the preliminary investigation of the event, what made Twitter’s system vulnerable was the result of mid-level employees having powerful access to site-wide admin tools, which, as proved by the unprecedented Twitter hack, can get into the wrong hands. 

Twitter’s security vulnerabilities, which hackers have exploited, have also put many high-profile Twitter users at risk. The hackers have used the accounts of people like former President Barak Obama, Joe Biden, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and others. 

The 16-year-old may have played a significant role in the attack

The New York Times report did not name the 16-year-old from Massachusetts because he is a minor and because the investigators did not file charges yet. 

Since the 16-year-old is a minor, the case may be handled by Massachusetts if the authorities decide to charge and arrest the teenager since the federal laws make it difficult to charge minors under 18 as adults. 

So far, the FBI has served a search warrant to the 16-year-old and raided his parents’ property, where the minor lives. Plus, we know very little about what the authorities have found at his place. But, it is known that the minor has practiced a type of social engineering hack known as “vishing,” in which the hacked phishes tech company employees via phone while acting as contractors to steal login details for sensitive systems. Then, the minor moved onto SIM swapping and other hacking types, where he got in contact and linked up with the 17-year-old Clark.

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