23-year-old Briton Joseph James O’connor has confessed to involvement in a hack into the systems behind Twitter in July 2020. The break-in allowed him and some accomplices to take control of multiple Twitter accounts.
The hacker used the pseudonym PlugwalkJoe online. In 2021, he was arrested in Spain, which extradited him to the US at the end of April this year. He is on trial for several charges, for which he can face up to 70 years in prison.
The 2020 hack was part of scams via Twitter. 130 accounts were acquired, including those of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The accounts of businessmen such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk were also affected. Tweets were sent through the accounts asking followers to send amounts in bitcoin to an account, promising that they would get the deposit doubled.
In addition to O’Connor, a Briton and two Americans have been indicted for the bitcoin scam in recent years.
PlugwalkJoe had also managed to access the Snapchat account of actress Bella Thorne before the Twitter hack in 2019. He threatened to publish nude photos of her. To take that weapon out of his hands, Thorne himself published the photos.
The hacker also penetrated the TikTok account of Addison Rae Easterling in 2020, with almost 89 million followers one of the most popular users of the platform.
PlugwalkJoe is also punished for sending police to a minor’s home multiple times by posing as that child and making false reports. He also stole money from a company that trades in virtual money.
According to one of the prosecutors, the man “left an impressive trail of destruction.”
On June 23, O’Connor hears what his sentence will be. The Briton has already promised the prosecutors that he renounces the almost 800,000 dollars earned with the scams, converted over 729,000 euros. He must also compensate victims.