Florida teen arrested for Twitter’s huge hack

‘This was not an ordinary 17-year old,’ says state attorney.
This April 26, 2017 file photo shows the Twitter app icon on a mobile phone in Philadelphia.
This April 26, 2017 file photo shows the Twitter app icon on a mobile phone in Philadelphia.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 1:57 PM CDT
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TAMPA (WIFR) -- The FBI, IRS, US Secret Service, and Florida law enforcement placed a 17-year-old in Tampa, Florida, under arrest — accusing him of being the “mastermind” behind the biggest security and privacy breach in Twitter’s history on Friday.

The hack took over the accounts of President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and more to perpetrate a huge bitcoin scam, according to The Verge.

He’s currently in jail, being charged with over 30 felony charges, including organized fraud, communications fraud, identity theft, and hacking, according to Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren in a just-broadcast news conference describing the arrest.

It’s not clear whether the 17-year-old is the only suspect in the case. “I can’t comment on whether he worked alone,” said Warren. He was arrested at his apartment where he lives by himself, authorities stated, according to The Verge.

He’s being charged as an adult, and the press conference made clear that law enforcement is considering how bad consequences of the hack could have been, not just the $100,000-plus in bitcoin that the teen is alleged to have scammed out of unsuspecting Twitter users. “He could have undermined politics as well as international diplomacy,” said Warren.

The teen’s first appearance in court may be as soon as tomorrow morning, Warren said.

We’re adding additional information to this post from the press conference now. Here’s the whole press release with additional details. We’re withholding the teen’s name for now, since we’re early in these investigations and it’s not clear if he’s the sole culprit, according to The Verge.

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