Three individuals have been charged today for their alleged roles in the Twitter hack that occurred on July 15, 2020.
Mason Sheppard, aka “Chaewon,” 19, of Bognor Regis, in the United Kingdom, was charged in a criminal complaint in the Northern District of California with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the intentional access of a protected computer.
Nima Fazeli, aka “Rolex,” 22, of Orlando, Florida, was charged in a criminal complaint in the Northern District of California with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer.
The third defendant is a juvenile. With exceptions that do not apply to this case, juvenile proceedings in federal court are sealed to protect the identity of the juvenile. Pursuant to the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, the Justice Department has referred the individual to the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial District in Tampa, Florida.
“The hackers allegedly compromised over 100 social media accounts and scammed both the account users and others who sent money based on their fraudulent solicitations,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The rapid investigation of this conduct is a testament to the expertise of our investigators, our commitment to responding quickly to cyber attacks, and the close relationships we have built with law enforcement partners throughout the world.”
As alleged in the complaints, the Twitter attack consisted of a combination of technical breaches and social engineering. The result of the Twitter hack was the compromise of approximately 130 Twitter accounts pertaining to politicians, celebrities, and musicians.
The hackers are alleged to have created a scam bitcoin account, to have hacked into Twitter VIP accounts, to have sent solicitations from the Twitter VIP accounts with a false promise to double any bitcoin deposits made to the scam account, and then to have stolen the bitcoin that victims deposited into the scam account. As alleged in the complaints, the scam bitcoin account received more than 400 transfers worth more than $100,000.