A 17-year-old from Florida is behind the big hacker attack on Twitter accounts of numerous celebrities in mid-July. The juvenile was arrested in Tampa on the west coast of the US state, the prosecutor said. He was the "leading mind" behind the so-called Bit-Con hacker attack, in which the accounts of ex-President Barack Obama, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Tesla boss Elon Musk had been hijacked.
A call appeared on the hacked accounts on July 15 to transfer Bitcoins worth $ 1,000 (880 euros) within 30 minutes. Supposedly, this should be rewarded with a double payment. According to prosecutors, the 17-year-old is said to have captured bitcoins worth more than $ 100,000. According to experts, a sophisticated hack - for example through a targeted call for donations or a political message - could have done much more damage than the quite obviously suspicious Bitcoin call.
Proceedings under adult criminal law
30 charges were filed against the 17-year-old, including fraud, misuse of personal information, and unauthorized intrusion into computer systems. Given the seriousness of the offenses, he would be treated as an adult, and he could face a longer sentence, prosecutor Andrew Warren said.
In view of the ongoing investigation, he initially did not want to comment on the question of whether the 17-year-old acted alone. According to Warren, he said he hadn't resisted the arrest at his Tampa apartment. The access of the judiciary is the result of cooperation with the Federal FBI and other authorities, said Warren.
After the hack, Twitter said that some employees had been "manipulated" and that the attackers could use their login data to gain access to the company's internal systems. With 45 accounts, the hackers could "take control and send tweets" and change passwords. Personal data was downloaded from eight accounts.
In addition to Obama, Gates and Musk, US presidential candidate Joe Biden, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and rap star Kanye West were also affected. Company accounts, such as those from Apple, were also hacked. Twitter said the company is grateful for the judiciary's swift action and will continue to cooperate with the investigation.