Twitter hacker pleads guilty to hijacking accounts of Apple, Musk, Biden, and others

Home » Twitter hacker pleads guilty to hijacking accounts of Apple, Musk, Biden, and others
Twitter hacker pleads guilty to hijacking accounts of Apple, Musk, Biden, and others


One of the Twitter hackers who hijacked the official Apple account, as well as those belonging to around 130 high-profile figures, has now pleaded guilty.

British citizen Joseph O’Connor has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of computer intrusion, extortion, stalking, wire fraud, and money laundering – and faces up to 20 years in prison …

Background

Around 130 high-profile Twitter accounts were taken over in July 2020, including Apple, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg, Kayne West, Uber, Floyd Mayweather, Warren Buffett, and Barack Obama.

One of the attackers, Florida teen Graham Clark, was arrested later the same month. He had somehow managed to convince a Twitter employee that he worked in the company’s IT team, and was then given access to the customer service portal. That embarrassing security fail allowed him to update account details, and subsequently use them to tweet a Bitcoin scam. Clark admitted his guilt back in 2021, and was given a three-year prison sentence.

Joseph O’Connor wasn’t arrested until almost a year after the hack, following a joint investigation by the US Department of Justice and the UK’s National Crime Agency.

Second Twitter hacker pleads guilty

The Guardian reports that O’Connor has now followed Clark’s example in pleading guilty to all charges.

A British man has pleaded guilty over his role in schemes to hack the Twitter accounts of celebrities including Joe Biden and Elon Musk, as well as stealing $794,000 in cryptocurrency.

Joseph James O’Connor, 23, entered his guilty plea in a New York court after being extradited from Spain on 26 April.

The crypto charge relates not to the amateurish tweets from the hijacked accounts, but a separate theft from an unnamed New York cryptocurrency company.

It’s also been revealed that the group used a SIM-swap attack to access the TikTok accounts of two influencers, and blackmailed them by threatening to release private videos. The DOJ didn’t release the names of the account owners, but other press reports suggest they are those of Addison Rae and actor Bella Thorne.

O’Connor is due to be sentenced on June 23.

Photo: Hédi Benyounes/Unsplash

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