Teen ‘mastermind’ behind the great Twitter hack sentenced to three years in prison

Teenage Twitter hacker Graham Ivan Clark has pleaded guilty to last summer’s unprecedented bitcoin scam attack that involved the takeover of dozens of high-profile accounts on the social network, according to paperwork filed in Florida court on Tuesday. Clark, who was 17 when accused of leading the scam, will spend three years in prison as part of his plea deal. The Tampa Bay Times reported the news earlier today.

Clark has already been credited with 229 days of time served since his arrest last summer. As part of the deal, Clark is also being sentenced as a “youthful offender,” which lessened his prison time and also opens up the possibility that he can serve some of his sentence at a boot camp, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Clark will also be banned from using computers without permission and without supervision from law enforcement.

The hack took place on July 15th, 2020, and it quickly became one of the most fraught cybersecurity incidents in Twitter’s history, as accounts belonging to high-profile users like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden were compromised in quick succession to promote a bitcoin scam Clark used to accept more than $100,000 in the cryptocurrency.

How Clark pulled off the hack, which he did alongside two other collaborators he allegedly met on an online username-selling forum called OGusers, has been the subject of numerous reports that detailed the group’s use of internal Twitter tools. Those tools, which can be used to reset account email addresses, allowed Clark and his collaborators to assume control of the accounts and send out tweets soliciting the public for bitcoin.

Shortly after the hack, Clark was arrested at his home in Hillsborough, Florida. Clark’s partners, Nima Fazeli of Orlando and Mason Sheppard of the UK, were charged with federal crimes, too.