A 19-YEAR-OLD lad from Bognor Regis has been charged over a massive Twitter hack that targeted the accounts of Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk.
Mason Sheppard is alleged to have hacked into accounts of celebrities, prominent politicians and moguls as part of a scam to get £76,000 in Bitcoin.
The US Attorney’s Office named Sheppard, also known as “Chaewon”, on Friday.
While the UK’s National Crime Agency said on Twitter that its officers had searched a property in the West Sussex town as part of the investigation.
The agency said Sheppard been “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”.
Another man, named as Nima Fazeli, aka “Rolex,” 22, of Orlando, Florida, was charged with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer.
Graham Clark, 17, was also arrested yesterday in Tampa, Florida, and now faces 30 charges.
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.
“Criminal conduct over the Internet may feel stealthy to the people who perpetrate it, but there is nothing stealthy about it. In particular, I want to say to would-be offenders, break the law, and we will find you.”
The hacks hit more than 100 accounts and led to bogus tweets being sent from the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, rapper Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, were also hacked.
The tweets offered to send $2,000 (£1,500) for every $1,000 (£750) sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.
Twitter previously said hackers managed to fool the social media company’s employees into giving them access.
It said the hack had targeted “a small number of employees through a phone spear-phishing attack”.
After stealing employee credentials and getting into Twitter’s systems, the hackers were able to target other employees who had access to account support tools, the company said.
The hackers targeted 130 accounts. They managed to tweet from 45 accounts, access the direct message inboxes of 36, and download the Twitter data from seven.