A British citizen extradited to the United States in April pleaded guilty in New York to involvement in one of the largest hacks in the history of social networks.
This hack occurred in July 2020 and affected Twitter. That time the hacker attack spread to more than 13 accounts, including the personal pages of Joe Biden and Barack Obama.
Joseph James O’Connor, known as PlugwalkJoe, pleaded guilty to hacking charges. The maximum penalty for this crime is more than 70 years in prison.
The hack, which involved a 23-year-old Briton, was part of a large-scale Bitcoin scam.
O’Connor, who was extradited from Spain, illegally gained access to the management of Twitter user accounts and posted messages on their behalf with a request to send bitcoin to the account and a promise to return the money in double volume. This request was addressed to the subscribers of the victims.
O’Connor, from Liverpool, was charged along with three other men with fraudulent activity. American teenager Graham Ivan Clark pleaded guilty in 2021. Nima Fazeli of Orlando, Florida, and Mason Sheppard of Bognor Regis in the UK were charged with federal crimes.
Assistant US Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. called the actions of the 23-year-old Briton blatant and malicious. He noted that the accused pursued the victims, threatened them, and extorted money from them, causing significant moral harm.
According to the assistant Attorney General, O’Connor tried to maintain anonymity by behind hidden accounts and aliases outside the United States. He also noted that this case is indicative as evidence that prosecutors and investigators will establish the identity, location and bring criminals to justice.
In 2020, about 350 million Twitter users saw the publications of suspicious content on the pages of the most famous users of the platform. Thousands of people have become victims of fraudsters, believing in the authenticity of these messages.
Cyber experts are convinced that the consequences could have been more extensive and sensitive if the criminals had acted through the use of a more complex scheme of deception, and were not aimed at getting rich quickly. Disinformation could be used to influence political discourse and fill the market with fake business ads.
The hack was a signal of the fragility of Twitter’s 2020 security system. During telephone conversations, the criminals persuaded the company’s employees to provide them with registration data, telling a story with signs of realism.
Hackers in this case acted more like villains, good at social engineering methods, and not as high-class cybercriminals.
O’Connor’s confession did not become a sensational event, because the criminals made serious mistakes that exposed them, and celebrated the success of their plan too loudly.
O’Connor also admitted to other hacking attacks, including illegally gaining access to a popular TikTok account. He posted a video on this page in which his voice is recognizable, and threatened to publish confidential materials related to the owner of the profile.
The US Department of Justice said he also harassed a minor using technology
As we have reported earlier, Ex-Uber Security Chief Gets No Prison Time for Hack Cover Up.