Briton arrested in Spain for hacking personalities’ Twitter accounts in 2020

July 22, 2021 by No Comments

A Briton was arrested in Spain this Wednesday, July 21 at the request of the United States, which suspects him of having participated in the hacking of 130 Twitter accounts of personalities in July 2020, announced the US Department of Justice.

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Joseph O’Connor, 22, was indicted by federal justice for his role in this spectacular attack, which had targeted in particular the accounts of Joe Biden, then presidential candidate, billionaires Elon Musk or Bill Gates or the former President Barack Obama.

“In addition to the Twitter attack on July 15, 2020, O’Connor is indicted for computer intrusions linked to the takeover of TikTok and Snapchat accounts”, also for “Online harassment of a minor victim”, specifies the ministry in a press release.

Last summer, the social network was the subject of a particularly troublesome attack, given the visibility of the 130 hacked accounts. An enticing message was displayed on 45 of them: “I decided to help my community. All bitcoins sent to my address, below, will be doubled “, could one read in particular under the profile of the founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos ..

In most cases, these messages were quickly deleted, but according to the investigation, the scam would have allowed hackers to pocket more than $ 100,000 in cryptocurrency, via 400 transfers from gullible Internet users.

Three years in prison for one of the hackers

The attack had revived the debate on the security of social networks a few months before the presidential election and seriously damaged the credibility of the bird network. Twitter had explained that the hackers had targeted a handful of employees via a phishing operation by phone in order to obtain several tools. They had thus succeeded in passing the barrier of double authentication, which normally makes it possible to secure an account beyond the simple password. In September, the network tightened the security of celebrity accounts.

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In the meantime, justice had traced the route of bitcoins and quickly traced back to three young hackers: Graham Clark, an American then only 17 years old, Mason Sheppard, a 19-year-old Briton, and Nima Fazeli, an American. 22 years old.

After pleading guilty, the former, considered the mastermind of the attack, was sentenced in March to three years in prison.

The name of Briton Joseph O’Connor, better known under the pseudo PlugWalkJoe, was immediately mentioned by cybersecurity experts. Contacted by the “New York Times”, the young man, a student in Spain, had denied any involvement. “They can come to stop me, I’ll laugh at them.” I did not do anything wrong “, he said in an interview published on July 17.

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