T Skevington and M Bacina
Tales of a Florida Boy: Alleged Twitter hacker's arrest and not guilty plea
Following the large-scale hack which inundated Twitter on 15 July 2020 with a common 2x Bitcoin scam in July, three individuals have been arrested and charged in the United States. One of the individuals and the alleged mastermind of the operation, a 17 year old boy from Florida, has since pleaded not guilty to all 30 charges brought against him.
While lawyers for the accused are arguing for reduced bail, our 17-year old alleged mastermind remains in jail on $725,000 bail. He faces 30 charges and, if convicted on all counts, could spend a theoretical 200 years in prison.
In a news release following the arrest of the trio, US Attorney David L Anderson for the Northern District of California said
There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence... Today's charging announcement demonstrates that the elation of nefarious hacking into a secure environment for fun or profit will be short-lived.
Interestingly, the Californian Department of Justice indirectly identified the investigative benefit to tracking proceeds of crime on a blockchain rather than in cash, saying:
While investigations into cyber breaches can sometimes take years, our investigators were able to bring these hackers into custody in a matter of weeks.
Indeed, the press release explicitly thanks Chainalysis for their assistance in the investigation.
Two other suspects face related charges in a California federal court — Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, and Mason Sheppard, 19, of the United Kingdom. On the social media platform Discord, which has its roots in the world of online gaming, the two are known as Rolex#0373 and ever so anxious#001.
From here it seems there will be less Rolex and far more anxiety for these individuals as the case progresses.