The mastermind behind the massive Twitter hack earlier this month that compromised the site’s security, took over the accounts of some of the most influential people in the world and raised grave concerns about the ability of bad actors to spread damaging misinformation was a 17-year-old boy from Florida, officials announced Friday.
The teenager was arrested Friday and has been charged as an adult with more than 30 felony counts, including communications fraud, identity theft and hacking, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren announced. The FBI, IRS, Secret Service and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of California worked with Florida law enforcement to ultimately identify and charge the teen, who lives in Tampa, Florida, Warren said.
“He’s a 17-year-old kid who just graduated high school, but make no mistake, this was not an ordinary 17-year-old. This was a highly sophisticated attack on a magnitude not seen before,” Warren said.
Despite the hackers’ cleverness, their plan quickly fell apart, according to court documents. They left hints about their real identities and scrambled to hide the money they’d made once the hack became public. Their mistakes allowed law enforcement to quickly track them down.