The teen responsible for the July hack against Twitter will need to pay a pretty penny if he wants to wait at home for his trial, but his holdings of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin should help take care of that.
Per the Tampa Bay Times, Bail was set at $725,000 in a Florida courtroom for Graham Ivan Clark yesterday, a 17 year old alleged to have masterminded the Twitter hack that impacted high-profile accounts like Elon Musk, Floyd Mayweather, Joe Biden, and dozens more.
Clark’s attorney disclosed during the hearing that Clark controls at least 300 Bitcoin, worth about $3.3 million. It’s the latest twist in the bizarre tale of one of Twitter’s most worrisome security compromises, a scheme seemingly closely tied to transacting in Bitcoin at every turn.
While the investigation is ongoing, it’s now known that Clark gained access to Twitter’s ‘God Mode’ back-end interface by manipulating employees of the social media company, gaining unauthorized access to the company’s Slack messaging system, and defeating at least one 2-factor authentication barrier.
Clark initially used the access to sell accounts created in the early days of Twitter before moving on to the Bitcoin scam where dozens of high-profile accounts tweeted messages requesting donations to a fake coronavirus-related cryptocurrency charity or offering to send back double the value of Bitcoin sent to a scam address.
During the bail hearing, prosecutors argued that at least 300 Bitcoin held by Clark should not be eligible for use in making bail payments, stipulating that “every penny that this defendant has access to is by ill-gotten gains.”
The defense argued the Bitcoin should be allowed for use, pointing to a law enforcement investigation last year that initially seized but later returned the Bitcoin in question to Clark while filing no charges against him.
Clark may well have the capability to post bail, but he will be restricted in other ways. The judge ordered that if he does, Clark will be required to wear an electric monitor and remain confined at home except to visit the doctor or his attorney. Clark must also surrender his passport and is barred from accessing the internet on any device until after his trial.
The investigation into the hacking event is still ongoing, but it seems increasingly clear that the public nature of all Bitcoin transactions may have played a part in Clark’s relatively quick apprehension. It’s an ironic twist that what may have been legitimate, everyday purchases of Bitcoin years ago may save Clark from the inside of a jail cell, at least for a few more months.