A 22-year-old British man wanted in the US in connection with the hacking of Twitter accounts of celebrities and politicians last year has been jailed in Spain while fighting extradition.
Joseph O’Connor, a well-known hacker who goes by the name “PlugWalkJoe” online, appeared before a Spanish national court on Thursday and refused to be transferred to the US voluntarily, a court spokesman said.
He was arrested a day earlier by Spanish police on a warrant issued by a US federal court as a result of the high-profile hack linked to a cryptocurrency scheme.
O’Connor, who is reportedly from Liverpool, faces multiple charges related to the July 2020 hack of more than 130 Twitter accounts, including those of Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Elon Musk.
Joseph O’Connor, a well-known hacker who goes by the name “PlugWalkJoe” online, appeared before a Spanish national court on Thursday and refused to be transferred to the US voluntarily, a court spokesman said. Pictured: O’Connor is led by Spanish police officers as he leaves a Spanish court on July 22
O’Connor (picture leaving court) was arrested a day earlier by Spanish police on a warrant issued by a US federal court as a result of the high-profile hack linked to a cryptocurrency scheme
The hackers hijacked the accounts of celebrities and asked their followers to send bitcoin to an account, promising to double their money.
They managed to scam more than $180,000 from unsuspecting victims in the process.
A lawsuit filed in federal court in California’s Northern District also accuses O’Connor of allegedly taking over TikTok and Snapchat accounts, as well as cyberstalking a minor.
The Justice Department said O’Connor is being charged with unauthorized access to computers, extortion and cyberstalking.
O’Connor has previously denied being behind the Twitter hack, telling the New York Times: ‘I don’t care – they can come and arrest me.
‘I would laugh at them. I have done nothing.’
The Madrid-based national court hears extradition requests in Spain. A court spokesman said Judge Santiago Pedraz considered the charges against O’Connor serious enough to keep him in custody and prevent him from attempting to flee during the extradition process.
The spokesperson was not allowed to be mentioned in media reports.
The attack reached more than 130 Twitter accounts, including those of Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Elon Musk.
The scam saw hackers ask their followers to send bitcoin to an account, promising to double their money hun
Extradition requests can take months and require both a judicial review and approval from the Spanish cabinet.
The FBI has informed Spanish authorities of O’Connor’s alleged involvement in last year’s hack, the National Police said in a press release.
It said Spanish and American agents participated in his arrest and search of the suspect’s home, which seized two computers and a cell phone.
The Spanish National Police said on Thursday that O’Connor lived permanently in Marbella, another southern coastal city popular with foreign residents, and that he had been on their radar since at least April 2020 as part of an alleged criminal group that committed online fraud. .
Joseph O’Connor, 22, has been arrested in Spain for hacking into Twitter accounts of celebrities and politicians last year
Graham Ivan Clark, 18, described as the mastermind behind the hack, was sentenced to three years in juvenile detention earlier this year
Earlier this year, the Florida teen accused of masterminding the attack was sentenced to three years in juvenile detention in a plea deal.
Graham Ivan Clark, 18, described as the mastermind behind the July 2020 global ‘Bit-Con’ hack, was sentenced to the maximum allowed under Florida’s Youthful Offender Act.
Clark was 17 when he was charged and his case was transferred to a Florida court because of his juvenile status.
According to authorities, Clark used his access to Twitter’s internal systems to take over the accounts of several companies and celebrities and used a combination of “technical breaches and social engineering,” raking in about $100,000.
A tweet that appeared on Tesla founder Musk’s Twitter feed said, “Happy Wednesday! I return Bitcoin to all my followers. I will double all payments sent to the Bitcoin address below. You send 0.1 BTC, I send 0.2 BTC back!’
It added that the offer was “valid for only 30 minutes.”
Twitter said at the time that the July 15 incident resulted from a “spear phishing” attack that misled employees about the origin of the messages.
The hack affected at least 130 accounts, including Biden’s while running for president.