A 22-year-old British citizen has been arrested in Spain in reference to a July 2020 Twitter hack that compromised the accounts of high-profile politicians and celebrities, the US Justice Division mentioned on Wednesday.
It named the British man as Joseph James O’Connor and mentioned he confronted a number of expenses. He was additionally accused in a felony grievance of pc intrusions associated to takeovers of TikTok and Snapchat accounts, together with one incident involving sextortion, in addition to cyberstalking a 16-year-old juvenile.
An unnamed second particular person, recognized as “Juvenile 1” within the felony grievance, was additionally charged in reference to the hack on 30 July 2020, within the northern district of California for enjoying a “central function” within the Twitter assault utilizing the moniker Kirk#5270.
The hacker was later recognized as Graham Ivan Clark, 18. The federal expenses have been dismissed and in March he pleaded guilty to state charges in Florida and agreed to serve three years in juvenile jail.
The July 2020 Twitter assault hijacked a wide range of verified Twitter accounts, including then Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The accounts of former US president Barack Obama, TV actuality star Kim Kardashian, Invoice Gates, Warren Buffett, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Kayne West have been additionally hit.
The alleged hacker used the accounts to solicit digital foreign money, prompting Twitter to take the extraordinary step of stopping some verified accounts from publishing messages for a number of hours till management over the accounts might be regained.
In response to the felony grievance, the accounts of cryptocurrency exchanges reminiscent of Binance, Gemini and Coinbase amongst others have been additionally compromised, in addition to these of firms together with Apple and Uber Applied sciences Inc.
The messages directed folks to ship cryptocurrency to numerous accounts, and generated about $117,000 by way of 415 transfers, the grievance mentioned. Two different bitcoin addresses that have been posted collected a further $6,700 by way of 100 transactions.
Authorities allege that Juvenile 1 reached out to a number of different folks and claimed he might “reset, swap and management any Twitter account at will, and would achieve this in change for bitcoin transfers”.
Two of these whom Juvenile 1 recruited, Nima Fazeli and Mason Sheppard, agreed to function intermediaries to assist discover consumers for Twitter usernames in change for a charge, investigators say. Each Fazeli and Sheppard have been criminally charged within the case on 30 July 2020, the grievance says.
O’Connor’s alleged function within the assault got here to gentle after the FBI interviewed one other unnamed juvenile, known as Juvenile 2, who recognized him. Juvenile 2 mentioned O’Connor had communicated about gaining access to sure Twitter accounts, together with presumably that of former president Donald Trump.
Felony investigators in California began receiving recommendations on O’Connor, who makes use of the net moniker PlugwalkJoe, way back to 2018, the grievance says.
A justice division spokesman mentioned O’Connor was anticipated to have a detention listening to in Spain on Thursday.