Three years after one of the vital seen hacks in current historical past performed out in real-time in entrance of tens of millions of Twitter customers, one of many hackers accountable for the breach will now serve time in federal jail.
Joseph James O’Connor, 24, was sentenced Friday in a New York federal court docket to 5 years in jail after pleading responsible in Might to 4 counts of pc hacking, wire fraud and cyberstalking. O’Connor additionally agreed to forfeit a minimum of $794,000 to the victims of his crimes.
O’Connor, a U.Okay. citizen, was extradited from Spain on the request of U.S. prosecutors earlier this yr and has remained in custody since.
Within the listening to, Decide Jed S. Rakoff stated O’Connor will possible serve about half of his sentence after spending greater than two years in pre-trial custody.
O’Connor confronted a most of 77 years in jail, according to Reuters. Justice Division prosecutors known as for O’Connor to serve a minimum of seven years in jail.
In court docket, O’Connor stated his crimes had been “silly and pointless,” apologized to his victims, and requested the choose for leniency.
Based on prosecutors, O’Connor “used his refined technological talents for malicious functions — conducting a posh SIM swap assault to steal massive quantities of cryptocurrency, hacking Twitter, conducting pc intrusions to take over social media accounts, and even cyberstalking two victims, together with a minor sufferer.”
The federal government stated O’Connor, identified by his on-line deal with PlugWalkJoe, was a part of a gaggle that broke into dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts, together with Apple, Binance, Invoice Gates, Joe Biden and Elon Musk, to unfold cryptocurrency get-rich-quick scams in July 2020.
O’Connor used phone-based social engineering methods to trick Twitter staff into granting the group of hackers entry to Twitter’s community. One of many different hackers convicted of the Twitter breach, Graham Ivan Clark, also referred to as Kirk, used the entry to Twitter’s community to abuse an internal admin tool to hijack and reassign Twitter consumer accounts.
Twitter quickly blocked users from posting to the site because it grappled with the intrusion, as tens of millions of customers watched in actual time as their timelines flooded with cryptocurrency scams from among the most recognizable names on the planet.
A subsequent investigation by New York’s Department of Financial Services, which accused Twitter of insufficient cybersecurity protections, discovered that the hackers broke in by “calling Twitter staff and claiming to be from Twitter’s IT division,” then hijacked the Twitter accounts of politicians, celebrities, and entrepreneurs to tweet “double your bitcoin” scams.
The rip-off netted about $120,000, based on public blockchain information.
The breach prompted Twitter to enhance its cybersecurity controls, introducing hardware security keys for its staff to forestall future phishing makes an attempt.
Two years on from the hack, extra explosive allegations in regards to the breach got here to gentle.
Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, who was hired as Twitter’s head of security months after the breach, later described the hackers’ entry as reaching “god mode,” which allowed them to imposter-tweet from any account they wished. Zatko known as the incident “the biggest hack of a social media platform in historical past” in a whistleblower complaint filed with federal regulators in 2022, during which Zatko accused his former employer of cybersecurity failings.
Twitter auto-replied with a poop emoji in response to an emailed request for remark, because it has carried out since a short while after Elon Musk acquired the corporate.