Early on July 31st, the FBI, IRS, US Secret Service, and Florida
law enforcement placed a 17-year-old in Tampa, Florida, under
arrest. He’s accused of being the “mastermind” behind the
biggest security and privacy breach in Twitter’s history, one
that took over the accounts of President Barack Obama,
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon
Musk, Kanye West, Apple, and more to perpetrate a huge bitcoin
scam on July 15th.
But apparently, he wasn’t alone: shortly after the Tampa arrest
was revealed and after we published this story, two more
individuals were formally charged by the US Department of Justice:
22-year-old Nima Fazeli in Orlando and 19-year-old Mason Sheppard
in the UK. They go by the hacker aliases “Rolex” and “Chaewon,”
respectively, according to the DOJ.
According to federal agents, Sheppard had used a personal driver’s
license to verify himself with the Binance and Coinbase
cryptocurrency exchanges, and his accounts were found to have sent
and received some of the scammed bitcoin. Fazeli also used a
driver’s license to verify with Coinbase, where accounts
controlled by “Rolex” allegedly received payments in exchange for
stolen Twitter usernames.
It appears Twitter wasn’t the victim of anything vaguely approaching an expert caper. These kids are such dingbats they used Bitcoin accounts opened in their own names. This profoundly disturbing and dangerous hack was pulled off by unsophisticated pranksters.
Makes me wonder what actual expert hackers are getting away with on Twitter.