Twitter Celeb Account Hacker Heads to Jail for 5 Years

Extradited from Spain, PlugWalkJoe has been sentenced in US court and is now headed to federal prison on a raft of charges related to account hijacking and cyber stalking.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

June 26, 2023

1 Min Read
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A main conspirator in the infamous 2020 celebrity Twitter account takeovers is off to jail for five years.

In a win for the good guys in law enforcement, Joseph James O'Connor (aka PlugwalkJoe), a UK citizen from Liverpool, was sentenced to five years in federal prison for his role in the July 2020 hack of Twitter, and other computer intrusions.

Along with two co-conspirators, he hijacked 130 high-profile Twitter accounts of public figures, including Elon Musk, President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, and Kanye West, along with others, and defrauded other Twitter users into handing over more than $100,000 in a Bitcoin scam.

The jail time also covers convictions for hijacking SnapChat and TikTok accounts, and engaging in cyber stalking and "swatting" attacks.

O'Connor was extradited from Spain on April 26 and pleaded guilty to the charges on May 9.

He will be subject to three years of supervised parole after his release, and he has also been ordered to pay $794,012.64 in connection with the Bitcoin scam.

"The investigation, charging, extradition, and prosecution of this case required the cooperation and coordinated efforts of many people," said United States Attorney Ismail Ramsey, in a Department of Justice statement. "This case demonstrates why cybercriminals can take no comfort in any anonymity they may think they enjoy. They will be identified, diligently pursued, and brought to justice."

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