biographical data

Graham Clark biography: 13 things about Twitter hack mastermind from Tampa, Florida

Graham Ivan Clark (©Hillsborough County Jail)

Graham Ivan Clark (©Hillsborough County Jail)

Graham Ivan Clark is a Russian-American resident of Tampa, Florida, United States. He was one of the four people behind the biggest security and privacy breach in Twitter’s history that happened in July 2020.

While Clark had access to the Twitter admin tool, he interacted with 130 accounts, initiated a password reset for 45 and accessed private messages for 36. As the primary author of the cyberattack, he worked with Mason John Sheppard of Bognor Regis, West Sussex, England, United Kingdom, Nima Fazeli of Orlando, Florida whose respective Discord aliases were Chaewon or ever so anxious#0001 and Rolex#0373 and another unnamed minor from the U.K.

They hacked almost 130 Twitter accounts. Among their victims were high-profile verified accounts including those of Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Floyd Mayweather, Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, Michael Bloomberg, Wiz Khalifa and Warren Buffet, cryptocurrency exchanges AngeloBTC, Binance, Bitfinex, Coinbase and Gemini and companies Apple and Uber.

The hacked accounts tweeted about “giving back to the community” and doubling any Bitcoin users sent to them, which netted the cryptocurrency worth more than $180,000, The New York Times estimated. On July 15, 2020, Clark received from Sheppard several large deposit of bitcoin totaling approximately 3.69 bitcoin, which was approximately $33,000 at the time of payment.

Clark was charged with one count of organized fraud, 17 counts of communications fraud, one count of fraudulent use of personal information with over $100,000 or 30 or more victims, 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information and one count of access to computer or electronic device without authority. Because he is a minor, the U.S. Justice Department referred him to Andrew Warren, the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial District in Tampa pursuant to the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act.

According to the authorities, the Twitter hack may have started on May 3, 2020 and ended on July 16, 2020. Here are 13 more facts about Clark:

  1. Born in Florida, he and his sister grew up in Tampa. Their father lives in Indiana, USA while their mother Emiliya V. Clark is a Russian immigrant with certifications to work as a facialist and a real estate broker.
  2. He stands 5’11” and weighs 160 lbs.
  3. In 2010, his parents divorced.
  4. In 2013, he started playing the video game “Minecraft.” His user name is Open.
  5. In 2015, he joined the online hackers’ forum OGUsers.
  6. In 2016, he set up a YouTube channel. He once teamed up on a separate YouTube channel with gamer Connor Belcher, who eventually became one of his online critics.
  7. In 2016, he stole $50 from “Minecraft” player Colby Meeds, born in 2001, by offering to sell him a digital cape for a character in the video game but not delivering it. He also offered to sell his “Minecraft” user name Open to Nick Jerome, born in 1999, but blocked him after receiving $100 from him.
  8. From 2016 to 2017, some “Minecraft” players produced YouTube videos on describing how they had either lost money or faced online attacks after interacting with him as Open.
  9. In 2019, he was the subject of a criminal investigation in which Florida prosecutors seized $15,000 and 400 bitcoin and returned the cash and 300 bitcoin. In the same year, using the alias Scrim, he sent an extortion note to tech investor Gregg Bennett, whose 164 bitcoins had been secured by hackers.
  10. In April 2020, the U.S. Secret Service seized from him 100 bitcoin and sent Bennett a letter saying 100 of his bitcoins had been recovered.
  11. On July 7, 2020, he created a profile on the gaming chatroom service Discord using Kirk#5270 as his alias.
  12. On July 8, 2020, he connected with Sheppard on Discord and another person using a profile named lol and asked if they wanted to be his middlemen, who will sell Twitter accounts to the online underworld.
  13. He was 17 years old when the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested him on July 31, 2020 in his apartment in Tampa and at 6:30 a.m. that day, he was booked into Hillsborough County Jail in Tampa. He lived by himself the apartment and two if his neighbors told the New York Times that he was driving a white BMW 3 Series.

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