back to article National Crime Agency says Brit teen accused of Twitter hack has not been arrested

The British teenager accused of being part of the gang that hacked Twitter and posted a cryptocurrency scam from various US celebrities' accounts has not yet been arrested. Mason Sheppard, a 19-year-old of Bognor Regis in the English county of West Sussex, has been visited by the National Crime Agency but no arrests have been …

  1. Peter Prof Fox
    WTF?

    Walk in to a zoom meeting just like that?

    I haven't used zoom so this is a bit strange to me. In essence 'zoom-bombing' is a predictable and difficult to stop thing? As a general rule I don't hold meetings in the street. How was the court so vulnerable? isn't this 101 stuff?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Walk in to a zoom meeting just like that?

      I assume the press got logins and these were leaked?

      1. Spiz

        Re: Walk in to a zoom meeting just like that?

        Right, so what should be "view only" logins get leaked. How does that end up with someone taking over the entire session and showing porn?

        I don't use Zoom, but if these basic restrictions can't be put in place easily then it sounds pretty crap.

      2. Mahhn

        Re: Walk in to a zoom meeting just like that?

        They didn't require logging in, they made it public. People had control over their own Mic's and screen sharing.

        It was a management caused issue, not IT.

    2. Kientha

      Re: Walk in to a zoom meeting just like that?

      It's been a very easy to stop thing since late April when the issue first got media attention. There's no excuse for the court not implementing the restrictions

    3. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Walk in to a zoom meeting just like that?

      The judge didn't set a password.

    4. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Walk in to a zoom meeting just like that?

      You can walk in off the street to a court hearing. This is considered to be a very important feature of the justice system, so when they have online hearings, they want the public to be able to walk into them as well. Just that people are far more likely to do so.

    5. JCitizen Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: Walk in to a zoom meeting just like that?

      I imagine the bombers got their lulz from the pictures I saw on Brian Krebs story on KOS. To anyone that wants to look, I can promise the look on one of the court members during the proceeding is priceless and will have you rolling on the floor laughing out loud in seconds!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

    Using famous names' online accounts to con the gullible into handing over money, worthy of extradition and the full force of the law.

    Killing an English biker by driving on the wrong side of the road, get given Diplomatic Immunity.

    I wonder what the punishment is for taking the piss out of their double standards? Life imprisonment without parole? Or being forced to watch endless reruns of The Apprentice USA?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

      @a/c

      I cannot upvote you enough

      Cheers…Ishy

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

      While there were undoubtedly some actual laws broken it seems to me 'the crime' really amounts to suckering gullible fools out of bitcoins.

      I can imagine a UK jury accepting a 'shits and giggles' defence, assertions that the perps never expected anyone to be so stupid as to actually hand over any money; given an appropriate wrist-slap and a "don't do it again" admonishment.

      In America, it seems the electric chair is being plugged in and tested.

      1. Jim Mitchell Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

        If a con works it was wholly the victim's fault? Wow.

        1. g7rpo

          Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

          In fairness it was a very very unlikely scenario and does seem a very unlikely prospect that someone might fall for it

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

          The Clapham omnibus defence I expect

          Could we expect that the standard muppet in the street would fall for it?

          After all if something looks to good to be true...

        3. RM Myers Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

          Yes, Jim Mitchell, it is good to see that victim shaming is still a recognized virtue on El Reg. After all, who doesn't like to make fun of the unsophisticated and naive.

          On a more serious note, having had two parents who lived to be extremely old (102 and 96), I'm actually glad they never got internet access. It was hard enough sometimes convincing them that some of the snail mail and phone solicitations were bogus. The older they got the more they just assumed that people were honest - a very dangerous assumption online.

          1. Falmari Bronze badge

            Victim shaming

            Jim Mitchell is not really victim shaming, just pointing out what could happen if tried in the UK. To be honest the “just kids never thought it would work” would probably work because in the UK the 17 year old would be tried as a minor not an adult.

            However, Mason Sheppard would be treated a little harsher as he is 19. Still no way as heavy handed as he would in a US court.

            Then again why should Mason Sheppard be tried in the US, British citizen in UK when it happened, surely subject to UK law. The UK has laws to cover what happened so he should be tried in the UK. If the situations were reversed would the US extradite? No fucking way.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Victim shaming

              "Then again why should Mason Sheppard be tried in the US, British citizen in UK when it happened, surely subject to UK law."

              Crimes can be tried either in the country where the perpetrator resides or the country where the crime took place (for digital crimes, this means the country of the victim). For this reason, it's rather normal that there would be the potential for this crime to be tried in the U.S. and extradition requested. The U.K. of course has the option to refuse extradition and try separately. The U.S. might want to extradite to the U.S. rather than wait for the U.K. to try the suspect in the hopes that information from all suspects might lead to more effective trials; for instance, if the same investigators get to question all suspects, they are more likely to get information against others involved.

              1. Falmari Bronze badge

                Re: Victim shaming

                "Crimes can be tried either in the country where the perpetrator resides or the country where the crime took place (for digital crimes, this means the country of the victim).”

                That maybe the case but I believe you should be tried in the country where the act was committed. Why because laws differ from country to county what maybe minor in one could be much more serious in another. I know that ignorance of the law is no excuse but ignorance of the law of other countries should be. In this case Mason Sheppard’s acts were committed in the UK so he should be tried in the UK.

                Country of the victim and who is the victim? Twitter a multinational who are register in multiple counties or the owners of the twitter accounts who are residents and nationals of many different counties. If it was hacked by social-engineering staff, are the staff not victims? So where were the staff could they have been out sourced to another country?

                When it comes down to it you should be tried in the country where the act was committed.

                1. doublelayer Silver badge

                  Re: Victim shaming

                  Your concerns are valid and they are often taken into account during extradition hearings. In many cases, if country A does not think the event was a crime, they will refuse to extradite. If country B's punishment for the crime exceeds country A's, it is common that country A will only agree to extradite under some conditions including a limit on punishment. These considerations are often seen in such cases, and there have been cases where country B decided not to meet country A's requirements and country A refused to extradite and charged the suspect themselves.

                  As for your discussion on where Twitter is located, that is somewhat clear. The company is located in the United States. They may own other entities, but the entity which controls the servers which were broken into is the main company based in the United States. The crime that is mostly being discussed here is accessing those servers, meaning that the locations of the people impersonated is not at issue. The location of the people used during the attack is similarly unimportant. In this case, the U.K. and U.S. both have jurisdiction over this particular suspect, so the U.S. may request to have the suspect tried there. If they do, the U.K. will be free to refuse that request and they will consider points such as yours when they do. It is worth keeping in mind that, should the U.S. make a request, it is not only legal but very standard for cases such as these.

                  1. Falmari Bronze badge

                    Re: Victim shaming

                    doublelayer have another up vote I am not disagreeing with you. I am just saying how I believe (would like) it to work.

                    As for victims the way I see it (my view) is that the victims are the ones who lost money and the people who had their accounts hacked.

                    1. doublelayer Silver badge

                      Re: Victim shaming

                      "As for victims the way I see it (my view) is that the victims are the ones who lost money and the people who had their accounts hacked."

                      You are correct, they are. There are a few crimes with which this could be pursued:

                      Obtaining access to a computer system without permission: Victim is Twitter.

                      Accessing protected data without authorization: Victim is account holder.

                      Theft and fraud: Victim is person who submitted bitcoin.

                      So all of these crimes can be pursued, including by other countries. The one currently being discussed most by law enforcement is the first one, so that's why the U.S. has gotten into it. That doesn't stop other countries requesting to charge the perpetrators on the others though. Probably the reason for the first crime to receive more attention is the value of the crime; the damage to Twitter is valued highly, while individual victims who lost some money is a smaller thing. I would expect that to also get handled in the upcoming trials though.

            2. RM Myers Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Victim shaming

              Wow, I'm not even sure where to start on a respond. First, I'm not criticizing Jim, I'm agreeing with him. Second, Jim is definitely not victim shaming. He is criticizing others for victim shaming. (:"If a con works it was wholly the victim's fault? Wow."). Your statement seems to refer to Jason Bloomberg's comment. And yes, Jason was victim shaming ( 'the crime' really amounts to suckering gullible fools out of bitcoins), but so were many others and my comment wasn't just a response to Jason's statement.

              The assumption in many of these statements is that the victims are just greedy and fools. The reality is, most cons target the elderly and others who are very vulnerable. Having taken for years an extremely low dose of a medication (cabergoline) which can, in high does such as Parkinson's patients would receive, cause people to make risky and irrational decisions (look up the warning label online), I feel confident is saying that medications can also cause people to fall victim to scammers. Even some fairly common antidepressants can affect people's judgement.

              But hey, gullible fools it is!

              1. Falmari Bronze badge

                Re: Victim shaming

                Sorry RM Myers

                I was replying to you I just read your opening statement as congratulating Jim in victim shaming (as a virtue :) ) sorry if I misread.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

        There is no jury involved in a UK extradition hearing.

    3. onemark03 Bronze badge

      Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

      Typical America.

      People (including a foreign national) break a few reasonably minor laws and catch a few people with their pants down, and Uncle Sam is out for blood instead of just kicking a little arse and moving on.

      1. HellDeskJockey

        Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

        A fraud netting about $117,000 is not minor. More than than that they attacked a major US company. That's why the FBI is involved. It's too large and too public to be ignored.

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

          Actually, the charges are illegal access to a protected computer (5 years), conspiracy to commit wire fraud (20 years), and conspiracy to commit money laundering (20 years). The money laundering for moving the bitcoin from one account to another to hide where the bitcoin came from. The "attack on a major US company" is relatively harmless.

      2. DS999

        Re: Nice to see the American Justice system has its priorities straight

        If the US "kicks a little arse and moves on" what's to stop the next person doing the same thing? If they had been smarter about their pitch, and fooled people into donating to what they thought was a charity matching funds and netted $50 million would still be OK?

        Is it just because they were stupid criminals that made so little money that they don't deserve to have the book thrown at them, or do you believe all computer crimes involving social engineering should be let off with a stern talking to?

  3. DutchBasterd

    I wonder if any of these kids ever seen the film "Hackers"

  4. JCitizen Bronze badge
    Alert

    Still not arrested...

    Some folks here on the ol' Reg seem surprised their is still no arrest. That is nothing in the US, where perps, who were never arrested, but still ended up in jail for life for murder. If the court thinks they are a low risk for flight, no bail will be set, no arrest is necessary. Now if you lose your case, and are booked into the system, THAT is more permanent than any arrest ever could be.

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