Twitter Hack Mastermind Pleads Guilty in Crypto Scam

Joseph James O’Connor orchestrated a sophisticated Twitter hack, stole crypto, and engaged in SIM-swap fraud, facing significant jail time.
Twitter Hack Mastermind Pleads Guilty in Crypto Scam

In 2020, Joseph James O’Connor, along with his accomplices, admitted to charges of computer intrusion and stealing cryptocurrencies through SIM-swap fraud. they hacked the Twitter accounts of prominent individuals like Elon Musk and Michael Bloomberg to orchestrate a Bitcoin scam promising quick returns.

What made this attack distinct was the use of actual high-profile accounts, setting it apart from other impersonation scams. The group also managed to steal $794,000 in crypto by executing a SIM-swap fraud targeting three executives of a wallet company. Through these intrusions, they drained funds from two clients’ wallets.

To conceal their illicit gains, the fraudsters engaged in money laundering activities and converted some of the stolen cryptos into Bitcoin. O’Connor had a personal exchange account where some of the pilfered funds were transferred.

In addition to the Twitter scam, O’Connor, known as PlugwalkJoe, conducted a SIM-swap attack on a Snapchat account and engaged in swatting attacks. Swatting involves making false emergency calls to incriminate the victim and prompt law enforcement action.

O’Connor now faces a potential sentence of 77 years in jail after pleading guilty to cybercrimes, including conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, extortive communications, and making threatening communications.

Experts have described O’Connor’s Twitter scam as unsophisticated, with Alex Stamos from the Stanford Internet Observatory noting the use of a Bitcoin donation request as evidence of a less refined approach.

Also Read: British Military’s Social Media Account Hacked to Advertise Crypto Scams

During the investigation into the hack, The New York Times uncovered the involvement of four individuals by connecting their social media accounts to their crypto addresses. One of them, a pseudonymous Discord user named Kirk, allegedly sold Twitter handles for Bitcoin as proof of having access to Twitter’s internal systems.

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