Prosecutors have charged three men in a massive Twitter breach that hacked the accounts of influential politicians, celebrities and technology moguls to cheat people across the globe out of over $100,000 in bitcoin.
As per The New York Times, hacker suspects include a 19-year-old British man from Bognor Regis, a 22-year-old man from Orlando, Florida, and a teenager 17 from Tampa, Florida. In a statement released Friday, the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office in Florida said the teen was the “mastermind” behind the hack, which involved posting messages on high-profile Twitter accounts soliciting bitcoin.
Security experts were not shocked to hear that the suspected hack mastermind is a 17-year-old, given the apparent amateur nature of both the activity and the willingness of the hackers to discuss the hack with reporters online afterwards.
US Attorney Anderson Warren said “As a crypto-currency, Bitcoin is difficult to track and recover if stolen in a scam.” These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here. This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including in Florida.
In an apparent Bitcoin scam on 15 July, Twitter accounts of multiple high-profile US figures were hijacked.
In his statement, US Attorney Anderson said: “There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence.” He further added “Criminal conduct over the Internet may feel stealthy to the people who perpetrate it, but there is nothing stealthy about it. In particular, I want to say to would-be offenders, break the law, and we will find you.”
Twitter gave credit in a separate statement the “swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses.”
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