Teenager from Bognor Regis one of three accused over Obama-Kardashian Twitter hack

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A teenager from Bognor Regis is one of three people accused over the Twitter hack that saw the accounts of politicians and celebrities compromised.

The US Department of Justice said Mason Sheppard faces three charges.

The 19-year-old, also known as “Chaewon”, has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the intentional access of a protected computer.


High-profile figures targeted in Twitter hack

According to the criminal complaint, the attack saw around 130 accounts belonging to politicians, celebrities and musicians compromised.

Accounts belonging to Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and Bill Gates were among those affected.

At the time the company confirmed that a “co-ordinated social engineering attack” had allowed criminals to post tweets from accounts offering to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to a Bitcoin address.

The company said out of the 130 accounts targeted, 45 were used to send tweets. The criminals also accessed the DM inboxes of 36 users and downloaded the Twitter data of seven.

According to the Department of Justice, the scam Bitcoin account received more than 400 transfers worth more than $117,000 (£90,000).

Nima Fazeli, also known as “Rolex,” 22, of Orlando, Florida, has been charged with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer.

The department said the third defendant, who is a juvenile, will not be further identified.

United States Attorney David L Anderson said Sheppard “faces a statutory maximum penalty of 45 years of imprisonment” if convicted.

“There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence,” he said.

“Today’s charging announcement demonstrates that the elation of nefarious hacking into a secure environment for fun or profit will be short-lived.

“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.”

The criminal complaint said the attack consisted of a combination of technical breaches and social engineering.

The latter is a way of describing a security breach based on convincing someone to provide access, rather than finding flaws in the software.

Twitter said it “targeted a small number of employees” who were called over the phone and tricked into providing their log-in credentials.

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