23-Year-Old Pleads Guilty to Crypto Twitter Hack from Three Years AgoJune 20, 2023
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Three years ago, the world watched in horror as one of the most prominent crypto scams to ever occur on Twitter unfolded before their very eyes.
Man Faces Prison for Twitter Crypto Hack in 2020
Many high-profile accounts – including those of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and former president Barack Obama – were hacked and featured posts about a phony bitcoin giveaway. The person committing the crime announced that anyone who sent BTC to specific addresses would see their money doubled. This, sadly, didn’t happen, and those who sent their money in merely saw it disappear from their digital wallets. The hacker made off with more than $120K in BTC before getting caught.
It later turned out that the culprit was 17 years old. He agreed to a plea bargain that would see him spend three years in a juvenile detention center. Up to this point, it was always thought that he acted alone, though today, a new suspect has been taken into custody for being part of the scam. 23-year-old Joseph James O’Connor – who was only 20 when he took part in the Twitter attack – is a British citizen who was found in Spain and was extradited to the U.S. to face his sentencing.
At the time of the attack, roughly 130 Twitter accounts were singled out by O’Connor and his cronies. In addition, the account of Binance – the world’s largest and most popular digital currency exchange – also saw its account overtaken by the hackers. Upon noticing what was going on, Twitter was quick to issue a halt to the activity and put out the following statement:
We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.
In addition to taking part in the Twitter hack, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a statement saying that O’Connor and his pals were engaged in various SIM-swapping hacks that allowed them to gain control of users’ phones so they could access further crypto accounts from there. Lastly, it is believed O’Connor also blackmailed an unnamed public figure with private Snapchat photos and stole close to $800,000 in crypto from an anonymous business.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. – who has a knack for always being involved in crypto-related scam cases – commented:
O’Connor’s criminal activities were flagrant and malicious, and his conduct impacted multiple people’s lives. He harassed, threatened, and extorted his victims, causing substantial emotional harm.
Not Privy to the Same Plea Conditions
At the time of writing, O’Connor has entered a guilty plea, though as a legal adult, he will not be privy to the same conditions as his partner three years ago.
He will be sentenced later in the month and is facing more than 70 years behind bars.
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