The British teenager accused of hacking Twitter and stealing thousands of dollars in Bitcoin was today described as ‘a nice boy’ whose father died about five years ago.
The United States Department of Justice accused 19-year-old Mason Sheppard of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and deliberate access to a secure computer.
He was one of three people linked to the hack earlier this month, with accounts of Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Barack Obama hijacked and used to post links to Bitcoin wallets, along with false claims that payments would be matched .
Neighbors of the family’s £ 250,000 row house in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, have since said that his mother Lorraine had raised Mr Sheppard alone since her husband Mark died.
Pictured: Address of the family (center, white door) in Bognor Regis. The British teenager charged with the Twitter hack was described yesterday as ‘a nice boy’ whose father died about five years ago
The British teenager accused of hacking Twitter and stealing thousands of dollars in Bitcoin was described today as ‘a nice kid’ whose father died about five years ago (stock image)
A woman in her sixties, who lives on the same road but wanted to remain anonymous, said, “I know Lorraine and she is nice. I haven’t seen Mason in years, but he was always a very nice boy.
“His father Mark died a few years ago – about five or six years, I think.
“This is a real shock. No one around here has seen anything from the police or anything. ‘
A middle-aged woman was with the family with £ 250,000 and three bedrooms earlier today, but declined to comment on the Twitter investigation.
She said, “I have absolutely nothing to say. Please leave us alone. ‘
Former US President Barack Obama, the most followed account on Twitter, was among the high-profile targets used to carry out the Bitcoin scam
American teenager Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was arrested in Tampa on Friday morning
Sheppard, also known as ‘Chaewon’, 19, was charged with a criminal complaint in the Northern District of California yesterday.
The charges were conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and intentional access to a secure computer.
Nima Fazeli, also known as “Rolex,” 22, of Orlando, Florida, has been accused of helping and promoting intentional access to a secure computer.
The third defendant is a young person who will not be identified, the Department of Justice said.
The scam saw more than $ 100,000 stolen with the charges, according to the Justice Department with a maximum sentence of 45 years’ imprisonment.
US attorney David L. Anderson said, “Criminal behavior on the Internet may feel secret to those who commit it, but there is nothing secret about it.”
He continued, “There is a misconception within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be committed anonymously and without consequence.
United States attorney David L Anderson (pictured in 2019) previously said, “There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks such as the Twitter hack can be committed anonymously and without consequence.”
Twitter says hackers have “manipulated” employees into accessing 130 accounts
Twitter said last week that hackers have “manipulated” some of its employees into accessing accounts. According to Blockchain.com, which monitors crypto transactions, more than $ 100,000 in virtual currency was sent to email addresses mentioned in the tweets.
“We know they had access to tools that were only available to our internal support teams to target 130 Twitter accounts,” said a statement on Twitter’s blog.
For 45 of those accounts, the hackers were able to reset passwords, log in and send tweets, it added, downloading the personal data of up to eight unauthenticated users. Twitter has locked the affected accounts and removed the fraudulent tweets. It also shut down accounts that were not affected by the hack as a precaution.
‘[The] The charging announcement shows that the elation of nefarious hacking in a safe environment for fun or profit will be short-lived.
“Criminal behavior over the Internet may feel insidious to those who commit it, but there is nothing secret about it.
“I want to say to potential offenders in particular, to break the law, and we’ll find you.”
The charge alleges that the Twitter attack was a combination of technical breaches and social engineering.
“The result of the Twitter hack was the compromise of about 130 Twitter accounts involving politicians, celebrities and musicians,” it says.
The hackers are said to have created a scam bitcoin account, hacked Twitter VIP accounts, sent requests from the Twitter VIP accounts with a false promise to double any bitcoin deposits to the scam account and then stole the bitcoin that victims deposited into the scam account.
As alleged in the complaints, the scam bitcoin account received over 400 wire transfers worth over $ 100,000 (£ 76,000).
The defendants allegedly victimized the Twitter VIP users whose accounts were hacked.
“The defendants allegedly victimized the people who sent bitcoin in response to the requests for scams.”