Florida Teen Who Masterminded Largest Social Media Hack Ever Gets Three Years In Prison
A teenager from Florida who hacked some of the most high-profile accounts on Twitter last year will serve three years in prison.
In July 2020, Graham Ivan Clark gained access to accounts belonging to Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Apple and Uber to name a few, using them to orchestrate a large-scale Bitcoin scam.
Tweeting from the profiles, the 17-year-old asked people to donate money to help coronavirus efforts in the form of Bitcoin, amassing more than $117,000 in the cryptocurrency.
On Tuesday, March 16, Clark pled guilty to the charges against him and was handed a three-year sentence. Though he was charged as an adult – he is now 18 years old – he will be sentenced as a youthful offender.
If he had been sentenced as an adult, he would have served a minimum of 10 years in prison.
As per the Tampa Bay Times, he has already served 229 days of his sentence and may be able to serve some of its remainders at a boot camp.
Upon his release, he will be banned from using any electronic devices without permission from law enforcement. He must also hand over passwords to any online accounts he owns.
‘Graham Clark needs to be held accountable for that crime, and other potential scammers out there need to see the consequences,’ Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said in a statement to the publication.
‘In this case, we’ve been able to deliver those consequences while recognizing that our goal with any child, whenever possible, is to have them learn their lesson without destroying their future,’ he added.
The hacker had found Twitter employees on LinkedIn, and then used features LinkedIn makes available to job recruiters to access employees’ phone numbers and contact information, Ars Technica reports.
One such tweet that he sent from Bill Gates’ profile proposed that the billionaire would be doubling all donations he received.
‘Everyone is asking me to give back. You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000,’ he wrote.
The money has since been returned to the victims. Two other teens – Nima Fazeli from Orlando and Mason Sheppard from Bognor Regis – have also been charged in the case, although authorities said Clark is the ‘mastermind behind the scam.
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