A 23-year-old man named Joseph James O’Connor has pleaded guilty to hacking charges that carried a potential prison sentence of up to 70 years. O’Connor, known as PlugwalkJoe, was responsible for the July 2020 Twitter hack, which affected more than 130 accounts, including those belonging to Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The hack was part of a large-scale Bitcoin scam that promised to double people’s money in exchange for Bitcoin.
O’Connor was extradited from Spain and charged with fraud along with three other men. Graham Ivan Clark, a US teenager, also pleaded guilty in 2021. Nima Fazeli of Orlando, Florida, and Mason Sheppard of Bognor Regis, England, were both charged with federal crimes.
According to Kenneth Polite Jr., Deputy Attorney General of the United States, O’Connor’s actions were “blatant and malicious” and caused “significant emotional harm” to his victims. The Twitter hack affected an estimated 350 million users who saw suspicious tweets from the platform’s biggest users. Thousands of people fell for the crypto scam, believing it to be real.
Cyber experts warn that if O’Connor and other hackers had more complex plans than the get-rich-quick scheme, the consequences of the Twitter attack could have been much worse. As technology becomes more advanced, it is imperative that both individuals and companies take proactive measures to protect themselves from cyber attacks. The Twitter hack serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of cybersecurity.