Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - 2021-07-22


Brit charged in ’20 VIP Twitter hack


A British man has been charged in the United States in a Twitter hack last summer that compromised the accounts of prominent U.S. politicians, celebrities and technology moguls, the Justice Department said Wednesday. Joseph O’Connor, 22, was arrested in the coastal resort town of Estepona, Spain, on a warrant accusing him of involvement in a July 2020 hack of more than 130 accounts, and of hacks that prosecutors said took over TikTok and Snapchat accounts, including “one of the most viewed and followed” TikTok stars. A criminal complaint filed in federal court in California does not identify whose account was compromised, but the date in the charging document matches up with the date that Addison Rae — who has about 82 million followers — revealed that she had been hacked. The complaint charges O’Connor — who went by the online handle PlugWalkJoe — with crimes including cyberstalking, making extortive and threatening communications, and intentionally accessing a computer without authorization. During the high-profile security breach a year ago, fake tweets were sent from the accounts of people such as Barack Obama and Amazon’s then-CEO Jeff Bezos asking their followers to send Bitcoin payments. O’Connor is at least the fourth suspect charged in the hack. A Florida teenager considered the operation’s mastermind was sentenced in March to three years in prison.



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