UK Citizen Extradited To US For 2020 Twitter Hack And Crypto Theft
- 23-year-old UK citizen behind 2020 Twitter hack extradited and pleads guilty to cybercrimes, including conducting a SIM swap attack to steal large amounts of cryptocurrency and hacking Twitter.
- Florida resident Graham Ivan Clark, an associate of O’Connor’s, was arrested in March 2021 and tried for the Twitter hack as a young offender.
- The SIM-swapping technique has been used in numerous cases of targeted crypto companies, including BlockFi, and victims have sued telecoms such as AT&T and T-Mobile for lacking internal security measures.
Joseph O’Connor, the UK national behind a 2020 Twitter hack, has been extradited to the United States.
He has pled guilty to multiple cybercrime offenses, including conducting a complex SIM swap attack to steal large amounts of cryptocurrency, hacking Twitter, conducting computer intrusions to take over social media accounts, and even cyberstalking two victims, including a minor victim. The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York announced Tuesday the charges against O’Connor.
The 2020 Twitter hack was a major event that resulted in the takeover of multiple high-profile Twitter accounts and used to promote a bitcoin giveaway scam. The attackers managed to hide scam warning responses, including from Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, and amassed approximately 11.3 BTC ($103,960) from the fraudulent activity. Despite multi-factor authentication being enabled on some of the accounts, the attackers still managed to take over the accounts and conduct their fraudulent activity.
Florida resident Graham Ivan Clark, an associate of O’Connor’s who also participated in the attack, was arrested in March 2021 and tried as a young offender, as he was 17 at the time of the hack. O’Connor, 23, was also charged by the SDNY and pled guilty for his role in SIM-swapping attacks targeting high-profile executives in the cryptocurrency industry. These attacks resulted in the theft of $794,000 in digital assets.
The SDNY declined to name the company, only stating that it “provided wallet infrastructure and related software to cryptocurrency”, but there have been numerous cases of targeted crypto companies using this same technique. Telecoms such as AT&T and T-Mobile have also been sued by victims over the lack of internal security measures that have allowed these attacks to take place.
It is clear that cybercrime is a major issue, and it is important for companies to take steps to protect themselves and their customers. Cybersecurity measures such as multi-factor authentication and internal security protocols can go a long way in preventing attacks like the 2020 Twitter hack. It is also important for law enforcement agencies to work together to bring cybercriminals to justice.
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