A 23-year-old Brit have pleaded guilty to cybercrime offenses in New York to a role in one of the largest hacks in social media history.
Joseph James O’Connor, who was extradited to America last month from Spain, admitted being part of a hacking operation in July 2020 which saw over 130 Twitter accounts compromised—including those belonging to celebrities like Joe Biden, Elon Musk, and Kanye West.
O’Connor, who operated through a parody account @PlugwalkJoe, was charged alongside three other men over the scam. US teenager Graham Ivan Clark pleaded guilty in 2021. Nima Fazeli of Orlando, Florida, and Mason Sheppard, of Bognor Regis in the UK, were all charged with federal crimes.
O’Connor, originally from Liverpool now faces a maximum sentence of 70 years in prison for his offenses, which also included stealing $794,000 from a New York cryptocurrency company.
The Twitter hack, hijacked celebrity accounts and asked their followers to send Bitcoin payments which would then be paid back in double.
US Assistant Attorney-General Kenneth Polite Jr described in a statement O’Connor’s actions as “flagrant and malicious”, saying he had “harassed, threatened and extorted his victims, causing substantial emotional harm”.