Twitter Hacker ‘Joseph O Connor’ Responsible For 2020 Breach Sentenced To Prison

Written by Senoria Khursheed ·  1 min read >

A UK citizen who took part in the massive breach of the 2020 hack of Twitter has been sentenced to five years in prison. In 2020, Twitter accounts for Joe Biden and Barack Obama became part of a massive breach.

Joseph O Connor, 24, was given the sentence of Friday in the Southern District of New York, a little over a month after he pleaded guilty to the criminal schemes. His arrest took place in July 2021 in Spain. In addition, O Connor must pay at least $794,000 in restitution to the victims of his crimes.

In April, the 24-year-old British national, also known as PlugwalkJoe, was returned to the United States from Spain. However, in May, O’Connor pleaded guilty to four counts of computer hacking: cyberstalking and wire fraud.

The hacker and his companions used social engineering techniques on Twitter employees to access its network and all information. According to the investigation by New York’s Department of Financial Services, they called Twitter workers and claimed to be the IT department professionals.

According to the news Graham Ivan Clark, another hacker going by the alias Kirk, used this access and information to take control of the reassigned Twitter accounts. The hackers significantly had access to any Twitter account they desired. Clark pleaded guilty to fraud charges in 2021 and was sentenced to three years. The hackers altogether stole around $120,000.

Due to the infamous Twitter Security breach, the defendant and his accomplices could gain access to Twitter’s backend tools without authorization. They used his access to sabotage 130 well-known accounts and executed a crypto scam that brought them about $120,000 in illegal profits.

“In other instances, the co-conspirators sold access to Twitter accounts to others,” as per U.S Department of Justice (DoJ) stated, “O’Connor communicates with others regarding purchasing unauthorized access to a variety of Twitter accounts, including accounts associated with public figures around the world.”

However, DoJ also stated, “After stealing and fraudulently diverting the stolen cryptocurrency. O’Connor and his co-conspirators laundered it through dozens of transfers and exchanged some for Bitcoin using cryptocurrency exchange services”.
“, Ultimately, a portion of a stolen cryptocurrency was deposited into a cryptocurrency exchange account controlled by O’Connor.”

Twitter took proactive measure and responded immediately by temporarily preventing anyone from tweeting and resetting passwords:

After the massive attack, Twitter said it improved cybersecurity controls. O’Connor called his crimes “stupid and pointless” in court and was ashamed and apologized to his victims.
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite told the news in a statement that O’Connor’s actions were “flagrant and malicious” and that he “harassed, threatened and extorted his victims, causing substantial emotional harm.”
O’Connor also admitted to cyberstalking two victims in June and July 2020; one was minor, and the other was threatening to shoot people to get the police involved.

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