Washington (AFP)

A 17-year-old American pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to the resounding hacking in mid-July of the Twitter accounts of personalities, including Barack Obama and Elon Musk, whom he is accused of having orchestrated.

The resident of Tampa, Florida pleaded not guilty in a state court, during a short hearing organized by teleconference, according to the newspaper Tampa Bay.

He was arrested on Friday with two young people aged 19 and 22, one of whom resides in the United Kingdom, and charged in particular with electronic fraud.

Investigators consider him to be the mastermind of this cyberattack that allegedly raised more than $ 100,000 in cryptocurrency.

Hackers have, according to Twitter, targeted a handful of employees via a phishing operation by phone, in order to obtain their credentials.

They then attacked 130 accounts, including those of former President Obama, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and Amazon founders Jeff Bezos, Microsoft, Bill Gates or Tesla, Elon Musk.

From these accounts, they sent flirtatious messages urging subscribers to send bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, supposedly in exchange for double the amount sent.

The attack damaged the image of Twitter and revived debates on computer security three months before the presidential election.

© 2020 AFP