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British man arrested in Spain over alleged position in Twitter hack of high-profile accounts

A British man has been arrested in Spain on suspicion of hacking some 130 celebrities” Twitter accounts final summer season.

Joseph O’Connor was arrested within the Spanish coastal resort city of Estepona on a global arrest warrant, the U.S. Division of Justice stated on Wednesday.

He has been charged in the USA for alleged involvement in a widespread Twitter hack that compromised the accounts of various outstanding U.S. politicians, celebrities and tech moguls in July 2020.

Prosecutors have additionally accused O’Connor of breaking into accounts on the social media apps TikTok and Snapchat, and of “cyberstalking a juvenile”.

A legal criticism has been filed in a federal courtroom within the Northern District of California. O’Connor is formally charged with cyberstalking, making extortive and threatening communications, and deliberately accessing a pc with out authorisation.

O’Connor, who is thought by the web alias PlugWalkJoe, denied wrongdoing in police interviews.

In the course of the high-profile safety breach, pretend tweets had been despatched from various high-profile social media accounts, urging followers to ship them Bitcoin funds.

“I’ve determined to assist my neighborhood. All bitcoins despatched to my tackle under can be doubled,” a number of the accounts tweeted.

Amongst others, the cyberattack focused then-U.S. Presidential candidate Joe Biden, in addition to former President Barack Obama, and one other candidate Mike Bloomberg.

Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Invoice Gates, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk additionally noticed their accounts compromised.

The messages had been swiftly deleted, however investigators estimate the rip-off would have allowed the hackers to soak up greater than $100,000 {dollars} in cryptocurrency.

Twitter stated the hackers had focused a handful of workers by way of a phishing operation by phone to interrupt via the platform’s double authentication system.

In September, the social community introduced they’d strengthened the safety of superstar accounts.

In March, a Florida teenager pled responsible to having masterminded the operation and was sentenced to 3 years in jail. Courtroom papers filed final yr stated the plot originated in a web based discussion board for individuals seeking to get hold of authentic, invaluable social media usernames.

There may be an underground marketplace for stealing and buying and selling sought-after handles on Twitter and different social media websites similar to Instagram, or the gaming worlds of Minecraft and Fortnite. Earlier this yr, Twitter stated it was cracking down on accounts linked to the buying and selling of such usernames.

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