Jul 21, 2021 - Technology

22-year-old arrested in connection with hack of prominent Twitter accounts

Illustration of an EKG pulse line forming the Twitter bird.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A 22-year-old United Kingdom citizen was arrested Wednesday for multiple charges in connection with the July 2020 Twitter hack that took over 130 Twitter accounts, including those belonging to Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Elon Musk.

Driving the news: Joseph O’Connor was arrested in Spain on three counts of conspiracy to intentionally access a computer without authorization; two counts of obtaining information from a protecting computer; two counts of cyber stalking; and one count of conspiracy to access a computer with the intent to extort from a person a thing of value, among other charges.

  • O'Connor, a well-known figure among hackers known as "PlugWalkJoe," is also charged with computer hacks related to takeovers of TikTok and Snapchat user accounts and cyber stalking a juvenile victim, per the Department of Justice.

Flashback: On July 15, 2020, hackers took over the accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg, Warren Buffett and other notable figures to push a cryptocurrency scam.

  • The accounts of high-profile individuals and corporations were compromised within a short period of time, allowing the posting of a message luring people to deposit bitcoin in a specific account, Axios' Ina Fried reports.

What to watch: If O'Connor is convicted, a federal district court judge will determine the sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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