The largescale twitter hack earlier this month saw the attackers take over several verified celebrity accounts, to promote a Bitcoin scam. Considered one of the most devastating hacks in the platform’s history, the latest reports reveal that authorities have arrested three teenagers, who were supposedly behind the hack.
Following a raid conducted by a joint task force of federal law enforcement officers, 17-year-old Graham Clark, resident of Tampa, Florida was arrested along with 22-year-old Nima Fazeli in Orlando and 19-year-old Mason Sheppard in the UK.
According to investigators, suspects were tracked using KYC records provided by Binance and Coinbase, that saw some of the stolen funds move into the suspects’ accounts after they used a personal driver’s license to verify themselves with the exchanges.
Authorities in Florida worked with the FBI, IRS, and Secret Service to arrest Clark for his involvement in the hack that saw multiple verified accounts for the likes of former American president Barack Obama and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
The U.S Department of Justice revealed that Fazeli and Sheppard went by the aliases “Rolex” and “Chaewon”. They were aided by an unidentified minor from California, who admitted to helping Chaewon sell access to Twitter accounts.
However, authorities believed Clark is the mastermind behind the attack and was the one who gained access to Twitter’s internal tools by convincing a Twitter employee that he works at Twitter’s IT department and tricking him into giving him the credentials.
The hack managed to garner $117,000 worth of Bitcoins.
While Sheppard and Fazeli acted as the middlemen in this scam, a hacked dubbed “Kirk#5270” was said to have accessed Twitter’s internal systems per previous reports. However, the FBI says the investigation is ongoing, and it is yet to be determined whether Clark is Kirk#5270.
According to Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, Clark has been charged with over 30 felony counts, including organized fraud, communications fraud, identity theft, and hacking, and is currently in Jail.
He further said:
“This could have had a massive, massive amount of money stolen from people, it could have destabilized financial markets within America and across the globe; because he had access to powerful politicians’ Twitter accounts, he could have undermined politics as well as international diplomacy.”
Adding, “This is not a game… these are serious crimes with serious consequences, and if you think you can rip people off online and get away with it, you’ll be in for a rude awakening, a rude awakening that comes in the form of a 6 AM knock on your door from federal agents.”
KYC solves this?
Even though this was an unfortunate even that saw the people and media blame cryptocurrencies. It highlighted the importance of KYC, and how blockchain technology lets authorities track funds. On the other hand, fiat is almost impossible to keep track of.
Hence, KYC can be used as a tool used to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal purposes. The fact that there are systems in place to track users and transactions means it can be used as a legitimate alternative to fiat cash since it often prevents incidents like this from occurring.