In Spain, a Briton was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a July 2020 Twitter hack. There is an arrest warrant against him from a US federal court. The hack compromised over 130 Twitter accounts of high-profile politicians, celebrities and companies. This was announced on Wednesday by the US Department of Justice.
Joseph O’Connor, a 22-year-old British citizen, was arrested yesterday in the coastal town of Estepona, Spain, by Spain’s National Police on several charges, including in connection with the July 2020 Twitter hack. Several accusations are directed against O’Connor. Including six in connection with unauthorized computer access. In addition, two for cyberstalking and one each for extortion and threats.
O’Connor charged with ten offenses
O’Connor is facing charges in the United States of computer break-ins related to the acquisition of TikTok and Snapchat accounts, including a sextortion incident. He is also suspected of cyberstalking a 16-year-old teenager. According to the Justice Department, he is accused of hacking the TikTok account of popular American singer, social media personality and dancer Addison Rae Easterling and actress Bella Thorne’s Snapchat account.
Ms. Thorne’s Snapchat account had compromised O’Connor in June 2019. The hacker threatened to publish nude photos that he found on the account. Unless Ms. Thorne posted a tweet thanking him for returning her account. Instead, Bella Thorne posted the pictures on Twitter. “I feel disgusting, I feel watched, I feel that someone has taken something from me”, she wrote in a statement about the photos. “However, I can sleep better tonight because I know I’ve taken back my power. You can’t and never will control my life.”
In the Twitter attack on July 15, 2020, hackers took over accounts of celebrities and companies. Among them were some big companies, such as Apple and well-known people, such as Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Kim Kardashian, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and many more.m. On the acquired accounts, they lured numerous gullible people into the trap with the promise that whoever transferred Bitcoin to them would then get twice as much back.
The tweets posted by the hackers instructed people to send cryptocurrencies to different accounts. The hackers received about $117,000 through 415 transfers, the indictment says. Two other Bitcoin addresses released in the meantime also made an additional $6,700 through 100 transactions. The online trading venue Coinbase put a stop to the whole thing quite quickly at the time.
Celebrity Twitter hack successful through social engineering
According to Twitter, the hackers used social engineering on some employees of the company in order to access internal Twitter systems with their access. The hackers then managed to bypass two-factor authentication. The incident constituted a serious security breach for Twitter. The social network was then forced to exclude all verified accounts from sending tweets for several hours. Meanwhile, the platform has been secured. In an interview with the New York Times last July, O’Connor said they got the Twitter credentials after finding a way into the company’s internal Slack messaging channel, where the data was posted.
O’Connor’s role in the Twitter hack came to light after the FBI questioned another teenager, Juvenile 2. He identified O’Connor. He said O’Connor had communicated that he had gained access to certain Twitter accounts at the time. This may have included the account of former President Donald Trump. Investigators in California received clues back in 2018 about O’Connor, who used the pseudonym PlugwalkJoe. Witnesses who had heard O’Connor’s voice sound during various Google voice calls were then able to help law enforcement identify him.
Mastermind of the action got juvenile punishment
Twitter hacker Graham Ivan Clark was still a snout at the time.r at a high school. He was considered the mastermind of the action. Shortly after the hack, Clark was arrested at his home in Hillsborough, Florida. Clark’s partner, Nima Fazeli of Orlando and Mason Sheppard of the UK, have also been charged with federal crimes. Clark made a confession in Florida court in March of this year. He was 17 years old at the time of the crime. That is why ,” as part of a juvenile sentence, “only” three years will be spent in prison. This is followed by a three-year probation period.