Joseph James O’Connor, a 24-year-old British citizen, was sentenced to five years in prison in the United States for his role in the July 2020 Twitter hack.
O’Connor, who went by the online alias “PlugwalkJoe,” pleaded guilty to criminal schemes that included unauthorized access to Twitter’s backend tools, SIM swapping attacks, and cyberstalking.
As part of the Twitter hack, O’Connor and his co-conspirators hijacked 130 popular accounts and used them to promote a cryptocurrency scam that netted them about $120,000. They also sold access to Twitter accounts to others and targeted a New York-based cryptocurrency company to steal crypto worth approximately $794,000.
In addition to the prison sentence, O’Connor was ordered to forfeit $794,000 and will be subject to three years of supervised release after his release.
The sentencing is a reminder of the serious consequences of cybercrime. O’Connor’s crimes were not only financially motivated, but they also caused significant harm to the victims. The SIM swapping attacks, for example, allowed him to take control of victims’ phone numbers and access their personal information.
The case also highlights the importance of cybersecurity. Companies and individuals need to take steps to protect themselves from cyberattacks, such as using strong passwords and two-factor authentication.