One of the hackers responsible for hacking Twitter three years ago will serve time in a US federal prison. This was reported by TechCrunch.
Joseph James O’Connor, 24, was sentenced Friday in a New York federal court to five years in prison after pleading guilty in May to four counts of computer hacking, wire fraud and cyberstalking. O’Connor also agreed to forfeit at least $794,000 to the victims of his crimes.
O’Connor is a citizen of Great Britain. He was extradited from Spain at the request of US prosecutors earlier this year.
In the hearing, Judge Jed S. Rakoff said O’Connor will likely serve about half of his sentence after spending more than two years in pre-trial custody
In court, O’Connor said his crimes were “stupid and pointless,” apologized to his victims, and asked the judge for leniency.
According to prosecutors, O’Connor used his sophisticated technological abilities for malicious purposes — conducting a complex SIM swap attack to steal large amounts of cryptocurrency, hacking Twitter, conducting computer intrusions to take over social media accounts, and even cyberstalking two victims, including a minor victim.
The government said O’Connor, known by his online handle PlugWalkJoe, was part of a group that broke into dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts, including Apple, Binance, Bill Gates, Joe Biden and Elon Musk, to spread cryptocurrency get-rich-quick scams in July 2020. He did this in order to spread fraudulent get-rich-quick schemes using cryptocurrency.
The breach prompted Twitter to improve its cybersecurity controls to prevent future phishing attempts.