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Man busted for Twitter hack of Biden, Obama, Musk in bitcoin rip-off

Rafael Henrique | LightRocket | Getty Pictures

A British man was arrested Wednesday in Spain in reference to the 2020 hack of Twitter accounts belonging to Apple, President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, Tesla chief Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Microsoft founder Invoice Gates and greater than 100 others to swindle their followers out of bitcoin, the Justice Division stated.

The accused man, Joseph O’Connor, was busted in Estepona by Spanish Nationwide Police on the request of U.S. authorities, who now will search his extradition.

O”Connor, 22, is charged in a legal criticism in California federal court docket with counts associated to the unlawful compromise of greater than 130 Twitter accounts within the hack on July 15, 2020.

Three different folks beforehand had been charged in reference to the hack, together with a then-17-year-old in Florida who was the alleged “mastermind” of the assault. A prosecutor stated final yr that the rip-off netted greater than $100,000 value of bitcoin.

O’Connor can be accused of cyberstalking a juvenile sufferer and laptop intrusions of TikTok and Snapchat consumer accounts.

The Twitter account victims additionally included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, actuality tv famous person Kim Kardashian, former New York Metropolis Mayor Mike Bloomberg, musicians Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa, the Money App company account, and Uber‘s company account. The bitcoin-related tweet was Apple’s first-ever tweet, though the account had positioned adverts previously. 

In the course of the hacks, messages that stated “I’m giving again to my neighborhood” or some variation have been posted by the accounts.

The message urged followers of the accounts to ship the cryptocurrency bitcoin to an deal with, saying the followers then could be repaid double the quantity that they had despatched.

Rachel Tobac, CEO of cybersecurity agency SocialProof Safety, instructed NBC Information on the time that the assault was seemingly the biggest Twitter had ever seen.

“We’re fortunate the attackers are going after bitcoin (cash motivated) and never motivated by chaos and destruction,” Tobac stated.

Twitter final yr had stated, “The social engineering that occurred on July 15, 2020, focused a small variety of workers by means of a telephone spear phishing assault.”

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“A profitable assault required the attackers to acquire entry to each our inner community in addition to particular worker credentials that granted them entry to our inner help instruments,” Twitter stated.

“Not all the workers that have been initially focused had permissions to make use of account administration instruments, however the attackers used their credentials to entry our inner techniques and achieve details about our processes.”

O’Connor is charged with three counts of conspiracy to deliberately entry a pc with out authorization and acquiring info from a protected laptop; two counts of deliberately accessing a pc with out authorization and acquiring info from a protected laptop; and one rely of conspiracy to deliberately entry a pc with out authorization and, with the intent to extort from an individual a factor of worth, transmitting a communication containing a risk.

He is also charged with one rely of constructing extortive communications; one rely of constructing threatening communications; and two counts of cyberstalking.

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