The accused teenage mastermind of a huge Twitter hack pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he hacked celebrity accounts to swindle people out of more than $100,000 in the cryptocurrency scheme. Tampa, Florida, a 17-year-old resident, pleaded not guilty before the state court during a brief videoconference hearing, according to the Tampa Bay Times newspaper.
He was arrested on Friday along with two others, aged 19 and 22, one of whom lives in Britain, and charged with cyber fraud. Investigators see the 17-year-old as the perpetrator behind the mid-July cyber assault that shocked Twitter. Hackers who have hacked hundreds of high-profile Twitter accounts have gained access to the network in an assault that has fooled a number of workers into giving up their passwords, according to company reports.
The huge hack of users from Elon Musk to Joe Biden affected at least 130 accounts, with tweets posted by usurpers duping people to send $100,000 to Bitcoin, ostensibly in return for double the amount sent. The official accounts of Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and others have also been affected. The incident raised questions about the security of the platform increasingly used for political and public conversations, especially as the US presidential election approached in November.