- Criminals are alleged to have hacked into 130 Twitter accounts for US prominent figures,
- alleged to have created a scam Bitcoin account,
- then to have stolen the Bitcoin that victims deposited into the scam account.
On 1 August 2020, the US Department of Justice arrested three young malefactors, Mason Sheppard, Nima Fazeli and a juvenile reported for hacking into 130 US prominent figures Twitter accounts noticed in the mid-days of July 2020. Tweeter Inc. was to be blamed these actions as its former employees were suspected to be part of these hackers.
The Department of Justice said that on 31 July 2020, Nima Fazeli, aka Rolex 22-year-old 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 19-year-old Mason Sheppard aka Chaewon of the UK was charged in a criminal complaint in the Northern District of California with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering. The third defendant is a 17-year-old juvenile.
The criminals are alleged to have hacked into 130 Twitter accounts for US prominent features, celebrities, politicians and businesses. As alleged in the complaints, the scam Bitcoin account received more than 400 transfers worth more than $100,000.Meanwhile, Rolex and Chaewon were involved in money laundering because they created scam Bitcoin account since they have skills to operate protected devices, stealing into people’s account. Thomas Edwards, Special Agent in Charge, US Secret Service, San Francisco Field Office announced that cybercriminals can no longer hide behind perceived global anonymity.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division also added that 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. They targeted 130 Twitter accounts, ultimately tweeting from 45, accessing the DM (Direct Messages) inbox of 36, and downloading the Twitter data of seven accounts. Twitter has revealed that the massive hack was a result of a phone spear-phishing attack.
The US cybercrime investigators have done a great job to arrest these criminals within a short period of time. However, Twitter is still working on its operating systems for the protection of its users’ privacy so that the laundering and scams won’t happen again.