Joseph O’Connor was sentenced to prison for his role in a celebrity cyber attack on Twitter.
A British man has been imprisoned in the United States for hacking high-profile Twitter accounts as part of a Bitcoin fraud.
In July 2020, Liverpool resident Joseph O’Connor stole more than 130 accounts, including those of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Elon Musk.
Last month, the 24-year-old pled guilty to hacking charges.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, he was sentenced to five years in prison for cybercrime on Friday.
The attack was part of a larger Bitcoin fraud in which followers were asked to contribute Bitcoin to an account in exchange for doubling their money.
As a result of the fraud, an estimated 350 million Twitter users saw bogus messages from some of the platform’s most prominent users, including Apple, Uber, Kanye West, and Bill Gates.
Thousands of people were tricked into thinking that a cryptocurrency giveaway was legitimate.
What went wrong with the Twitter hack?
O’Connor, also known as PlugwalkJoe, was extradited from Spain to the United States in April and pled guilty last month to hacking charges carrying a cumulative maximum sentence of more than 70 years.
Three additional males have been charged in connection with the scheme, with US teenager Graham Clark pleading guilty in 2021 to his role in the deceit.
The hackers called a limited number of Twitter employees and told them a plausible story in order to persuade them to hand over their internal login information, which finally enabled them access to Twitter’s administration tools.
They were able to gain access to the site’s strong internal control panel by employing social engineering techniques more akin to conmen than high-level cybercriminals.
O’Connor’s activities were described as “flagrant and malicious” by US Assistant Attorney-General Kenneth Polite Jr, who said he “harassed, threatened, and extorted his victims, causing substantial emotional harm.”
According to the US Justice Department, O’Connor acknowledged to further hacking charges such as acquiring access to a high-profile TikTok account and stalking a kid.
According to the US Justice Department, he was also sentenced to pay over $800,000 in forfeiture.