“PlugwalkJoe” pleads guilty to massive 2020 Twitter hack and other crimes

In some cases, the co-conspirators took control themselves and used that control to launch a scheme to defraud other Twitter users. In other cases, co-conspirators sold access to Twitter accounts to others. O’CONNOR reached out to others about buying unauthorized access to a variety of Twitter accounts, including accounts associated with public figures from around the world. Several Twitter accounts targeted by O’CONNOR were later transferred from their rightful owners. O’CONNOR agreed to buy unauthorized access to a Twitter account for $10,000.

PlugwalkJoe also took over the account of an unnamed TikTok user in 2020, and the details listed suggest that the unnamed victim is Top Tik Toker Addison Rae. At that time, Rae’s TikTok account name changed to “joeandzak1” and her bio read “plugwalkjoe zak n crippin.” The Justice Department also says that PlugwalkJoe and her co-conspirators targeted another high-profile user’s Snapchat account in 2019 and threatened to release his private images to the public. In this case, the victim appears to be Bella Thorne, who publicly thanked the FBI for arresting O’Connor.

A separate case from the Southern District of New York charges O’Connor and the conspirators with SIM swapping, or the act of gaining control of a victim’s phone number, as part of a scheme that resulted in the theft of $794,000. in crypto from an unidentified, Manhattan-based company that “provided wallet infrastructure and cryptocurrency-related software.”

“O’Connor used his sophisticated technological skills for malicious purposes: he carried out a complex SIM-swap attack to steal large amounts of cryptocurrency, hacked into Twitter, used hacks to take over social media accounts, and even cyberstalked two victims, including a minor victim. ”, says US Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York in a statement.

O’Connor was arrested in Spain in 2021 on multiple charges, including three counts of conspiracy to intentionally access a computer without authorization, one count of making threatening communications, two counts of cyber bullying, and more. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 23 and has agreed to award more than $794,000 to victims of his scams.

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