A 22-year-old British citizen, known online as “PlugWalkJoe”, has been arrested on the Costa del Sol in Spain for allegedly being one of four young hackers who took control of dozens of celebrity Twitter accounts last year. last year and used them to demand more than $ 115,000 in bitcoin.
The alleged perpetrators committed 130 counts in July last year, according to the latest criminal complaint filed in the Northern California district, including those of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Kanye West and Elon Musk.
Then, the hackers tweeted fake messages from the accounts asking their millions of followers to send bitcoin to an account, and promised to double their money if they did.
U United States Department of Justice said Wednesday that Joseph O’Connor had been arrested in Estepona by the Spanish National Police on several charges relating to last year’s high-ranking pirate.
O’Connor, accused in the DoJ’s criminal complaint of being a prolific hacker named “PlugWalkJoe,” has previously denied responsibility for the hacking, telling The New York Times“I don’t care. They can come and arrest me. I’ll laugh. I didn’t do anything.”
He explained to the newspaper that he had corresponded with the other alleged perpetrators, but had received a massage near his home in Spain when the hacking took place.
O’Connor is the fourth person to be charged in connection with the hacking. Just two weeks after the July 2020 attack, U.S. authorities named Mason Sheppard, then 19, of Bognor Regis in the United Kingdom, and Nima Fazeli, then 22, of Orlando, Florida, and then Graham 17 Clark of Tampa, Florida, as accused in the FBI investigation.
According to the criminal complaint, which was filed in the Northern District of California, the attacks were led by a group of hackers in the business of buying and selling code-named social media screens, known as “OGUsers “.
O’Connor was identified by FBI agents through a combination of messages he sent through the Discord gamer chat platform, as well as unnamed informants, including the one who identified a record of the his voice, said the presentation.
U.S. authorities have been receiving advice about their illegal online activity since 2018, according to the filing, which also accused it of hacking the account of “one of the most viewed and tracked accounts” on rival media platform TikTok social media, compromising a Snapchat user’s nude photos by stabbing them, and cyberstalking a young victim.
Twitter declined to comment on the news of the arrest.
Twitter fraud has raised more than $ 115,000 in cryptocurrency, while hackers have also accessed the private mailbox of 36 of the victims ’accounts and downloaded seven personal data, Twitter said at the time. .
The incident prompted Twitter to block certain verified accounts from posting tweets for several hours a day, and provoked widespread criticism of the social media group for lewd security practices.
State prosecutors in Tampa, Florida, last year called Clark the “master” behind the attack, accusing him of using social engineering to trick a Twitter employee into providing credentials to access the company’s service portal. client of the company, under the claim that he was a co-worker in the information technology department. Access to these “internal controls” then allowed Clark to gain access to Twitter accounts, state prosecutors say.
#techFT brings you news, comments and analysis on the big companies, technologies and issues that make up this faster movement of sectors by specialists based around the world. Click here use #techFT in your inbox.