A 17-year-old Tampa resident was arrested Friday morning for the high-profile Twitter breach this month that included former President Barack Obama and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, among others.
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren filed 30 felony charges against the teenager for “scamming people across America.” The breach in question involved 130 accounts, which the perpetrator used to send messages asking users to send them cryptocurrency. Investigators said at the time that 430 people sent loot totaling about $120,000.
The teen’s arrest was first reported by Tampa’s WFLA, which did not release the suspect’s name. The outlet said the teen was charged with 17 counts of communications fraud, one count of fraudulently using personal information, and 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information, one count of access to an electronic device without authority, and one count of organized fraud.
“These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here,” Warren said in a statement. “This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including here in Florida. This massive fraud was orchestrated right here in our backyard, and we will not stand for that.”
An anonymous hacker named “Kirk” told media earlier this month that they breached the platform using credentials they bought from a Twitter employee. Other celebrities whose accounts were breached included billionaires Jeff Bezos; Mike Bloomberg; Elon Musk; Bill Gates; and rapper Kanye West, along with his wife, Kim Kardashian West.
“To make sure that we understand, he compromised the security of a Twitter employee, which allowed him to gain access to Twitter’s internal accounts and control,” Warren told reporters Friday. “That’s what gave him access to, essentially, whatever Twitter accounts he wanted.”
Twitter denied the claim that any employees voluntarily participated in the scheme.
Warren said the suspect would be prosecuted in Florida’s Hillsborough County because the defendant “committed the crime here.”
Watch above via the Hillsborough Attorney’s Office.
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