Teen Behind the Twitter Bitcoin Hack Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison

The infamous cryptocurrency scam involved high-profile names including Elon Musk and Bill Gates.
Fabienne Lang
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Last year a Twitter cryptocurrency scam that took place on July 15, involved dozens of high-profile names' Twitter accounts being taken over, including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and many others.

Now, Graham Ivan Clark, the teen Twitter "mastermind" hacker behind the cryptocurrency scam has pleaded guilty to 30 charges and will spend three years in prison.

The hacked accounts were taken over in quick succession to promote a Bitcoin scam in which the account holders said they would double any Bitcoin sent to a specific wallet. Clark and two fellow hackers were able to amass over $100,000 in Bitcoin before their scheme was discovered and shut down. 

Clark and his two accomplices were placed under arrest on July 31, when Clark was still 17 years old.

As he was still underage at the time of the scam and the arrest, Clark, now 18 years old, is serving his sentence as a "youthful offender," which minimizes his sentence length and means he may be able to spend part of his prison time in a boot camp, according to the Tampa Bay Times, and the New York Times.

How did he pull off the hack?

After looking into the matter, Twitter said the trio managed to compromise the system by targeting some of its employees who have "access to internal systems and tools." The hackers then used these to gain access and control of highly visible accounts. 

Not only could the scammers access these profiles and change their passwords and account details, but they could also gain complete access to their DMs (direct messages).

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From there, the youths sent out tweets soliciting the public for Bitcoin — doing so rather successfully until they were caught. 

At the time, Twitter shared lengthy posts on the social media platform outlining exactly what they'd found out, and what steps they were doing to counter the issue. It appears the company took steps to "limit access to internal systems and tools" during the investigation. 

In an ironic twist, Clark's trial, which took place over Zoom in August last year, had to be paused as a bunch of pranksters played a number of tricks including streaming porn on Pornhub. 

It's clear to see that securing internal and online systems is crucial in our day and age, and it's good to see that law and order are keeping an eye on things.