British citizen has pleaded guilty in the United States to the 2020 Twitter hack

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In 2021, Joseph James O’Connor was detained in Spain. Image source: REUTERS

A British national who was recently deported to the US has confirmed his involvement in one of the biggest social media hacks to date in New York.

More than 130 accounts, including those of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, were targeted in the July 2020 Twitter attack.

The hacker, identified as Joseph James O’Connor, 23, also known as PlugwalkJoe, was extradited from Spain and has pleaded guilty to multiple charges of hacking.

If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of over 70 years in prison. O’Connor used multiple Twitter accounts to send tweets urging followers to send Bitcoin to a particular account.

He falsely promised to double the amount of money received as part of the scam.

O’Connor made an effort to remain anonymous, just like many criminals do, by using a computer to set up aliases and stealth accounts from countries other than the United States.

However, this guilty plea demonstrates the dedication of our detectives and prosecutors in uncovering such criminals and making sure they are held accountable for their conduct through the judicial system.

350 million Twitter users are expected to be exposed to questionable tweets in 2020 that come from verified accounts belonging to some of the platform’s most well-known users.

Tragically, thousands of people fell for the con after believing that a cryptocurrency giveaway was legitimate.

Celebrities including US boxer Floyd Mayweather and the singer Wiz Khalifa also lost control of their accounts

Indeed, cyber experts have reached a consensus that the repercussions of the Twitter hack could have been significantly more severe if O’Connor and the other hackers involved had devised more advanced and sophisticated plans beyond their initial get-rich-quick scheme.

One of the potential dangers that experts have highlighted is the spread of disinformation.

With control over prominent Twitter accounts, the hackers could have disseminated false information aimed at manipulating political discourse, sowing discord, and misleading the public on a large scale.

Additionally, the ability to issue well-worded fake business announcements through compromised accounts could have had significant consequences for financial markets.

Misleading statements about companies, acquisitions, or product launches, for instance, could have triggered fluctuations in stock prices, resulting in substantial financial losses for investors and potentially destabilizing markets.

The Twitter hack serves as a stark reminder of the potential harm that can be caused when malicious actors gain access to influential platforms.

It underscores the importance of strengthening security measures, enhancing user protection, and implementing effective strategies to combat and prevent cyber threats.

The Twitter hack exposed the vulnerability of Twitter’s security infrastructure at that time.

The attackers employed a social engineering technique resembling the tactics of confidence tricksters rather than sophisticated cyber-criminals.

They contacted a limited number of Twitter employees, using a convincing narrative to deceive them into divulging their internal login credentials.

This ultimately granted the hackers access to Twitter’s robust administrative tools and control panel.

The hack demonstrated the significance of social engineering as a potent method for breaching security defenses.

It highlighted the importance of not only technological safeguards but also comprehensive training and awareness programs to educate employees about potential threats and prevent falling victim to such manipulative tactics.

The incident prompted Twitter and other platforms to reassess and enhance their security protocols, strengthening measures to protect against social engineering attacks and bolstering the overall security of their systems.

Among those who were hacked were Mike Bloomberg and Kanye West.

Undoubtedly, the Twitter hack remains a highly embarrassing and significant incident in Twitter’s troubled history.

The admission of Joseph James O’Connor may not have come as a surprise to many, considering the abundance of evidence publicly available.

The hackers involved in the breach made critical mistakes and were evidently not discreet in their celebrations following the hack.

In addition to his involvement in the Twitter hack, O’Connor pleaded guilty to other hacking offenses, including unauthorized access to a prominent TikTok account.

These further admissions underscore his engagement in a range of cybercrimes, highlighting the extent of his activities beyond the Twitter breach.

The Twitter hack served as a wake-up call not only for Twitter but also for other tech companies, emphasizing the critical need to bolster their security measures and address vulnerabilities that could potentially expose users’ data and compromise platform integrity.

Efforts to enhance cybersecurity practices and protocols have been reinforced in the aftermath of this incident.

O’Connor published a video on the compromised TikTok account, featuring his recognizable voice, in which he issued threats to release “sensitive, personal material” associated with the account owner to individuals joining a Discord group.

Additionally, the US Department of Justice disclosed that O’Connor employed technology to engage in stalking behavior towards a minor.

This revelation highlights a deeply concerning aspect of his actions, as it involves the exploitation and potential harm of a vulnerable individual through the misuse of technology.

These incidents underscore the serious nature of O’Connor’s conduct, involving threats, privacy violations, and potential harm to both individuals and the wider online community.

It serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding personal information, protecting against online harassment, and ensuring the safety of vulnerable individuals in the digital realm.

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