Twitter Hacker Goes To Jail

A British man who hacked famous Twitter accounts as part of a Bitcoin scam has been jailed in the US he has been involved in hacking schemes targeting crypto-currency wallets, Twitter accounts, and other social media accounts.

Joseph O'Connor, from Liverpool, took control more than 130 Twitter accounts in July 2020. The victims  included Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg, Bill Gates and Elon Musk.

The 24-year-old hacker pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, wire fraud, and money laundering, computer intrusion, extortion, stalking, and making threats in May. He pleaded guilty to various charges, including SIM swapping attacks resulting in the theft of $794,000 worth of crypto-currency and participating in a scheme targeting high-profile Twitter accounts. 

As part of the attack, the perpetrator took over the phone numbers of three executives at the victim company to gain access to accounts and computers and steal crypto-currency from wallets maintained on behalf of two clients.

O’Connor also used SIM swapping to access unauthorised accounts on TikTok and Snapchat and engaged in stalking and swatting activities. He has now been sentenced to a five years prison sentence for cyber crimes, and ordered to pay forfeiture of $794,000, according to the US Attorney's Office in the southern district of New York. 
This hacking attack was part of a major Bitcoin scam that generated tweets asking followers to send Bitcoin to an account, promising to double their money.

As a result of the fraud, an estimated 350 million Twitter users viewed suspicious tweets from official accounts of some of the platform's biggest users, including Apple, Uber, Kanye West and Bill Gates. Thousands were duped into believing that a crypto giveaway was real.

O'Connor, who named himself PlugwalkJoe, was arrested 2 years ago and has been extradited from Spain to the US in April 2023 and in May he pleaded guilty to hacking charges that carried a total maximum sentence of more than 70 years. Three other men have been charged over the scam, with US teenager Graham Clark pleading guilty to his part in the deception in 2021.

The hackers telephoned a small number of Twitter employees with a believable tale to convince them to hand over their internal login details, which eventually granted them access to Twitter's administrative tools. They managed to use social engineering tricks, more akin to conmen than high-level cyber-criminals, with the aim to get access to the powerful internal control panel at the site.

In a statement, US Assistant Attorney-General Kenneth Polite Jr described O'Connor's actions as "flagrant and malicious", saying he had "harassed, threatened and extorted his victims, causing substantial emotional harm".
The US justice department also said O'Connor admitted other hacking crimes including gaining access to a high-profile TikTok account and stalking a minor.

The attacks, which unfolded over the course of several hours in July 2020, rocked Twitter and prompted the company to take the unprecedented measure of stopping all verified accounts from tweeting. He has been ordered to pay almost $800,000 in forfeiture, the US justice department said.

US Dept. of Justice:      BBC:      Oodaloop:    Security Week:     Daily Mail:    Liverpool World:    Guardian

Image: Umanoide on Unsplash

You Might Also Read: 

For Sale: 5.4m Twitter Users’ Data:

___________________________________________________________________________________________

If you like this website and use the comprehensive 6,500-plus service supplier Directory, you can get unrestricted access, including the exclusive in-depth Directors Report series, by signing up for a Premium Subscription.

  • Individual £5 per month or £50 per year. Sign Up
  • Multi-User, Corporate & Library Accounts Available on Request

Cyber Security Intelligence: Captured Organised & Accessible


 

 

« A Brief History Of Artificial Intelligence & Its Potential Future
Financial Services Cyber Compliance Is About To Get Harder »

CyberSecurity Jobsite
Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

CYRIN

CYRIN

CYRIN® Cyber Range. Real Tools, Real Attacks, Real Scenarios. See why leading educational institutions and companies in the U.S. have begun to adopt the CYRIN® system.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of automatic cloud backup and critical data protection against ransomware, insider attacks and hackers for businesses and organisations worldwide.

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law advise global businesses that buy and sell technology products and services. We are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

Alvacomm

Alvacomm

Alvacomm offers holistic VIP cybersecurity services, providing comprehensive protection against cyber threats. Our solutions include risk assessment, threat detection, incident response.

CSI Consulting Services

CSI Consulting Services

Get Advice From The Experts: * Training * Penetration Testing * Data Governance * GDPR Compliance. Connecting you to the best in the business.

The Networking People (TNP)

The Networking People (TNP)

TNP supplies independent advice allowing large organisations to design, build and operate their own networks independently of the established telecoms companies.

Janusnet

Janusnet

Janusnet develops software and solutions for organisations to enforce and manage data security.

LRQA

LRQA

LRQA are a leading global assurance provider, bringing together unrivalled expertise in certification, brand assurance, cybersecurity, inspection and training.

CIRCL

CIRCL

CIRCL is the national Computer Incident Response Center of Luxembourg

SharkGate

SharkGate

SharGate provide a cloud-based website security solution to protect websites from being hacked.

Cyber, Space, & Intelligence Association (CSIA)

Cyber, Space, & Intelligence Association (CSIA)

CSIA focuses on issues critical to Cyber Security, Military Space and Intelligence.

Muninn

Muninn

At Muninn (aka Wehowsky), we specialize in mitigating potential risks within your network, providing one of the leading network detection and response (NDR) solutions on the market.

Qubitekk

Qubitekk

Qubitekk has developed quantum cryptography solutions for the machine-to-machine (M2M) communications market.

Brighter AI

Brighter AI

Brighter AI empowers companies to use publicly-recorded camera data for analytics & AI while being compliant with increasing data privacy regulations worldwide.

Nova Leah

Nova Leah

Nova Leah helps connected medical device manufacturers meet cybersecurity compliance requirements throughout the entire product lifecycle.

Finosec

Finosec

Finosec's mission is to change the way information security and cybersecurity are managed in banking.

SafeTech Informatics & Consulting

SafeTech Informatics & Consulting

Safetech's OTShield detects, prevents and analyses cyber-attacks in SCADA and Industrial IoT systems by utilising state of the art deception techniques.

UnderDefense

UnderDefense

UnderDefense provides cyber resiliency consulting and technology-enabled services to anticipate, manage and defend against cyber threats.

Torq

Torq

Torq's no-code automation modernizes how security & operations teams work with easy workflow building, limitless integrations and numerous pre-built templates.

RiskOptics

RiskOptics

RiskOptics (formerly Reciprocity) equips organizations with one of the most intuitive and powerful information security and cyber risk management solutions in the market.

N2K Networks

N2K Networks

N2K Networks is the world’s first “news to knowledge” network. The news to knowledge network is how you stay at the cutting edge in a rapidly changing world.