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UK Citizen Extradited to US for 2020 Twitter Hack

Joseph O'Connor confesses to multiple cybercrimes, including cryptocurrency theft and SIM swap attacks.

Wed, 10 May 2023, 16:05 pm UTC

Joseph O'Connor, a British citizen responsible for the infamous 2020 Twitter hack, has been successfully extradited to the United States, according to an announcement by the U.S. Attorney's Office Southern District of New York (SDNY) on Tuesday. O'Connor has since admitted guilt for multiple cybercrimes.

In an official statement, the SDNY highlighted O'Connor's misuse of his advanced technical skills for nefarious activities. His criminal exploits included a sophisticated SIM swap attack to steal significant amounts of cryptocurrency, hijacking Twitter accounts, taking over social media profiles, and cyberstalking two individuals, one of whom was a minor.

The 2020 Twitter breach saw numerous high-profile accounts compromised, including CoinDesk's, and exploited for a Bitcoin giveaway scam. The hackers bypassed multi-factor authentication on some accounts, effectively concealing scam alerts, such as those from Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao. Ultimately, the culprits gained about 11.3 BTC (around $103,890) from their illegal activities.

Graham Ivan Clark, a Florida resident and O'Connor's accomplice during the cyber attack, was apprehended in March 2021. Clark was 17 at the time and was prosecuted as a juvenile.

O'Connor, 23, faced charges from the SDNY and confessed to his involvement in SIM-swapping attacks aimed at prominent figures in the cryptocurrency world. As a result, the cybercriminal stole approximately $794,000 worth of digital assets.

Although the SDNY did not reveal the identity of the targeted company, stating only that it offered "wallet infrastructure and related software for cryptocurrency," similar attacks have been reported against other crypto companies, such as BlockFi.

Telecommunication giants AT&T and T-Mobile have faced legal action from victims for their inadequate internal security measures, allowing these types of attacks to occur. O'Connor is expected to appear before the court on June 23, 2023.

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