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‘mastermind’ pleads guilty to celeb Twitter hack

A US teenager has pleaded guilty to hacking several high-profile Twitter accounts in a large-scale Bitcoin scam.

Graham Ivan Clark was 17 when he co-ordinated the scam – which hijacked the profiles of celebrities, including Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Barack Obama.

He would spend three years in prison as part of his plea deal, a Florida court filing said.

But Clark has already served 229 days of this three-year sentence.

Now 18, but sentenced as a “youthful offender”, he may also be able to serve some of the sentence at a boot camp, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

But Clark will also be banned from using computers without permission and supervision from law enforcement.

The scam

The hack, on 15 July last year, promoted a scam in which hijacked celebrity accounts encouraged followers to donate bitcoin to coronavirus-relief projects.

“Everyone is asking me to give back,” a tweet purportedly sent from Mr Gates’s account said. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”

More than $117,000 (£84,200) of the cryptocurrency was collected through the scam.

The money had been handed to the authorities to be returned to the victims, Clark’s lawyer said.

Apple and Uber tweets
image captionTechnology companies Apple and Uber were also hacked

It was alleged Clark had imitated a member of Twitter staff to gain access to the company’s networks and worked with two other hackers to complete the heist.

Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, and Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis, have been charged with federal crimes.

The family of Mr Sheppard have declined to comment and the Home Office said it “does not comment on extradition requests”.

bbc

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