A 23-year-old man from the United Kingdom has confessed that he had a part in the significant hacking attack on Twitter in July 2020. He also managed to gain access to TikTok accounts of prominent users and threatened to distribute nude photos. He now faces a prison sentence of decades.
The US Department of Justice writes this in a press statement.
Twitter victim of a hacking attack and Bitcoin scam
In July 2020, Twitter was the victim of hackers who managed to gain access to the company’s internal systems through social engineering. They managed to take over the accounts of well-known public figures and companies, including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Apple and Uber.
In this capacity, the hackers asked to transfer bitcoins to “give something back to society”. The attackers promised to double the amount received. Millions of followers transferred about 100,000 euros in a short time, and that amount was immediately channelled away.
Twitter said the hackers managed to infiltrate the company’s internal systems through a “coordinated social engineering attack”. “We know they misused this access to take control of high profile and verified accounts. We are investigating what malicious activities they performed or information they stole,” Twitter said in a statement.
The accused committed these crimes.
We are now almost three years later, and a suspect has confessed that he is partly responsible for the hacking attack on Twitter. It concerns 23-year-old Joseph James O’Connor from the United Kingdom, also known online as PlugwalkJoe. At the end of April, he was extradited from Spain to the US. Upon arrival, O’Connor confessed to several crimes, including the hacking attack on Twitter.
The man also confessed that he had hacked into TikTok and Snapchat accounts of various victims with millions of followers via SIM swapping. He pretended to be the account owner and made several posts to promote himself. He also managed to capture nude photos of actress Bella Thorne and threatened to make them public if she did not pay him a ransom, and instead, she decided to publish the images herself.
Finally, O’Connor has admitted to multiple counts of swatting. The police and other emergency services are then called with a false report asking them to intervene quickly to prevent a crime supposedly. For example, the police have been called out several times to the home of a minor child, a secondary school, a restaurant and a police station in the same region. The Brit pretended to be someone else.
The suspect could be sentenced to several decades in prison.
O’Connor has confessed to computer trespass, extortion, threats, cyberstalking and money laundering. He has agreed to forfeit $794,012 and pay compensation to the victims. The Brit risks a prison sentence of decades.
On Friday, June 23, a federal court will rule in this case. Then O’Connor is told how long he has to go to jail.
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