The young hacker accused of being the mastermind behind a breach last year of high-profile Twitter accounts pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a Florida court, agreeing to serve three years in juvenile prison.
Graham Ivan Clark, 18, faced fraud charges after a hack that compromised Twitter accounts belonging to Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and former President Barack Obama, among other celebrities. Under Mr. Clark’s control, the accounts tweeted fraudulent messages soliciting Bitcoin, promising to double the money of anyone who sent cryptocurrency.
“No Bitcoin currency was returned as promised to these victims,” said Darrel Dirks, a prosecutor with the Florida state attorney’s office. The scheme netted Bitcoin worth more than $100,000 before it was shut down.
The attack took control of Twitter’s internal systems that are used to manage accounts, and caused a mass shutdown of verified Twitter accounts as the company scrambled to push the hackers out of its systems.
The breach raised questions about Twitter’s corporate security and generated speculation that state-sponsored hackers could be responsible, rather than teenagers.
Mr. Clark grew up in Tampa and, as a child, found ways to trick players of the video game Minecraft, people who knew him at the time told The New York Times. He moved on to selling and swapping rare social media user names on the forum OGUsers, where he connected with other hackers who said they participated in the Twitter breach. Two other young men, Nima Fazeli and Mason Sheppard, were also arrested and faced charges related to the hack.