Briton Arrested Over Twitter Hack Of Public Figures

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Another arrest over the hack of high profile Twitter accounts of Joe Biden, Barak Obama, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others

Spanish police have arrested a British man over the hugely embarrassing hack that compromised the Twitter accounts of Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and even Kim Kardashian.

The Twitter hack took place in July 2020 and saw the accounts of high profile public figures and celebrities tweeting a bitcoin scam that offered to double people’s bitcoin payment.

Twitter at the time confirmed that the hackers had targeted a small number of its staff through a phone “spear phishing” attack.

Arrests made

The hackers also accessed the DM (direct message) inboxes of 36 users and downloaded the Twitter data of seven.

The US Department of Justice said that the criminals’ Bitcoin address had received more than 400 transfers worth more than $117,000 (£90,000).

And it should be noted that there has already been a number of arrests and at least one conviction over the matter.

A Florida teenager, Graham Ivan Clark, was 17 years old in August 2020 when he pleaded not guilty to charges that he organised the Twitter hack in July 2020,

Clark was able to access the public figure accounts after convincing an employee at Twitter that he worked in the company’s information technology department.

Once Clark gained accessed to the high profile accounts, Clark tweeted a link to a bitcoin address and wrote “all bitcoin sent to our address below will be sent back to you doubled!”

Clark eventually changed his not guilty plea, and instead pleaded guilty to state charges in exchange for a three-year prison sentence.

Clark also turned over all the cryptocurrency he had acquired.

Other arrests have also been made.

A man in the UK also being arrested as part of the criminal investigation. Mason Sheppard, 19, in Bognor Regis was named at the UK citizen arrested, as was American Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando.

There is no word on the legal case against these two at the time of writing.

Spanish arrest

But now another arrest has been made, and once again another Briton has been arrested.

The US Department of Justice announced that Joseph O’Connor, 22, who was known online by the handle PlugWalkJoe and who had previously given interviews to the media regarding the incident, was arrested on Wednesday in Estepona, Spain, by Spanish National Police at the request of the FBI.

Joseph O’Connor, 22, is charged by criminal complaint filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

According to court documents, in addition to the 15 July 2020, hack of Twitter, O’Connor is also charged with computer intrusions related to takeovers of TikTok and Snapchat user accounts.

O’Connor is also charged with cyberstalking a juvenile victim.

The Feds have O’Connor with a raft of charges, including three counts of conspiracy to intentionally access a computer without authorisation and obtaining information from a protected computer; two counts of intentionally accessing a computer without authorisation and obtaining information from a protected computer; one count of conspiracy to intentionally access a computer without authorisation and, with the intent to extort from a person a thing of value, transmitting a communication containing a threat; one count of making extortive communications; one count of making threatening communications; and two counts of cyberstalking.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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