Tue, 5 Dec 2023


24-year-old who hacked celebrity twitter accounts including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk is jailed
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Mon, 26 Jun 2023   ||   Nigeria,




Joseph James O'Connor has been jailed for hacking celebrity twitter accounts and demanding for money.

The British man was behind the massive hack of celebrity Twitter accounts including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kim Kardashian, and Elon Musk has been jailed for five years.

He pleaded guilty to a string of cyber crime offences in May, almost three years after his hacking group which aimed to hijack over 130 Twitter accounts in a Bitcoin scam got caught.

Those targeted include leading brands such as Apple and Uber, as well as Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and other high-profile figures, The Guardian reports.

O'Connor, also known under an online alias as Plugwalk Joe, additionally pleaded guilty to stealing $794,000 in cryptocurrency, cyberstalking, and online extortion.

The Briton, who was extradited to the US from Spain on April 26, admitted to conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering. O'Connor was charged alongside fellow Briton Mason Sheppard, from Bognor Regis, West Sussex, and two Americans, Graham Ivan Clark, and Nima Fazeli.

O'Connor, from Liverpool, Merseyside, is also believed to be behind an attack on actress Bella Thorne where he allegedly threatened to leak nude photographs he had obtained by hacking her SnapChat account unless she agreed to various demands.

Other charges he pleaded guilty to were conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering and stalking two victims.

O'Connor faced up to 20 years for the most serious of the charges. On top of his five-year term, he has also been handed three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $794,000.

'O'Connor's criminal activities were flagrant and malicious and his conduct impacted multiple people's lives. He harassed, threatened and extorted his victims, causing substantial emotional harm,' Kenneth A Polite Jr, an assistant attorney general in the US justice department's criminal division, said last month.

'Like many criminal actors, O'Connor tried to stay anonymous by using a computer to hide behind stealth accounts and aliases from outside the United States.'

Florida teen Graham Ivan Clark said to be the mastermind of the plot, was sentenced in July 2021 to three years in juvenile prison - the longest term allowed under state law.

One hacked tweet from Biden read: 'I am giving back to the community. All bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000. Only doing this for 30 minutes.'


Back to News