Joseph James O’Connor has been arrested in Spain over his alleged role in the Elon Musk’ Twitter hack

22-year-old British citizen Joseph James O’Connor was arrested in Spain yesterday for allegedly being involved in a July 2020 Twitter hack, infiltrating the accounts of politicians and famous people.


Joseph O’Connor, a well-known hacker who goes by the name ‘PlugWalkJoe’ online

Joseph James O’Connor has been charged over his alleged role in the Twitter hack

The July 2020 Twitter attack hijacked a variety of verified Twitter accounts, including then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The accounts of former President Barack Obama, TV reality star Kim Kardashian, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, and Kayne West were also hit. These Twitter accounts were almost simultaneously hijacked to promote a fake Bitcoin giveaway.

The hack forced Twitter to temporarily disable some of its features, preventing some verified accounts from publishing messages for several hours until the security for the accounts could be restored, blocking the ability to post new tweets of verified accounts.

After reviewing the hack, Twitter determined that some of its employees were tricked into giving hackers access to the site’s internal systems using social engineering.

An investigation conducted by the FBI and Department of Justice found that Graham Ivan Clark from Florida was responsible for masterminding the hack. Clark – who was only 18 years old when he took over the Twitter accounts of the most powerful people on the planet – agreed to a sentence of 3 years in prison and 3 years of probation earlier this March.

Two of those people whom Clark recruited, Nima Fazeli and Mason Sheppard, agreed to serve as middlemen to help find buyers for Twitter usernames in exchange for a fee. Both Fazeli and Sheppard were criminally charged in the case on July 30, 2020.

Besides, O’Connor faced multiple charges. He was also accused in a criminal complaint of computer intrusions related to takeovers of TikTok and Snapchat accounts, including one incident involving sextortion, as well as cyberstalking a 16-year-old juvenile.

O’Connor’s role in the attack was also made clear when the FBI interviewed the masterminds and accomplices. In it, O’Connor was the one communicating about getting access to certain Twitter accounts, including possibly that of former President Donald Trump.

Crime investigators in California began receiving warnings about O’Connor in 2018. He was also involved in multiple SIM-swapping attacks. Witnesses who had heard what O’Connor’s voice sounded like on various Google voice calls were able to help law enforcement identify him.

A Justice Department spokesman said O’Connor is scheduled to have a hearing on his detention in Spain on Thursday.

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