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A British man was arrested Wednesday in Spain in reference to the 2020 hack of Twitter accounts belonging to Apple, President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, Tesla chief Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Microsoft founder Invoice Gates and greater than 100 others to swindle their followers out of bitcoin, the Justice Division mentioned.
Joseph O’Connor was arrested in Estepona by Spanish Nationwide Police on the request of U.S. authorities, who now will search his extradition, authorities mentioned.
O”Connor, 22, is charged in a legal grievance in California federal court docket with counts associated to the unlawful compromise of greater than 130 Twitter accounts within the hack on July 15, 2020.
Three different people previously had been charged in connection with the hack, together with a then-17-year-old in Florida who was the alleged “mastermind” of the assault. A prosecutor mentioned final 12 months that the rip-off netted greater than $100,000 price of bitcoin.
O’Connor can also be accused of cyberstalking a juvenile sufferer and laptop intrusions of TikTok and Snapchat consumer accounts.
The Twitter account victims included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, actuality tv famous person Kim Kardashian, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, musicians Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa, the Money App company account, and Uber‘s company account. The bitcoin-related tweet was Apple’s first-ever tweet, though the account had positioned advertisements previously.
Through the hacks, messages that mentioned “I’m giving again to my group” or some variation had been posted by the accounts.
The message urged followers of the accounts to ship bitcoin to an handle, saying the followers then could be repaid double the quantity they’d despatched.
Rachel Tobac, CEO of cybersecurity agency SocialProof Safety, advised NBC Information on the time that the assault was doubtless the biggest Twitter had ever seen.
“We’re fortunate the attackers are going after bitcoin (cash motivated) and never motivated by chaos and destruction,” Tobac mentioned.
Twitter final 12 months mentioned, “The social engineering that occurred on July 15, 2020, focused a small variety of staff by a cellphone spear phishing assault.”
“A profitable assault required the attackers to acquire entry to each our inside community in addition to particular worker credentials that granted them entry to our inside help instruments,” Twitter mentioned.
“Not the entire staff that had been initially focused had permissions to make use of account administration instruments, however the attackers used their credentials to entry our inside methods and achieve details about our processes.”
Authorities mentioned O’Connor is charged with three counts of conspiracy to deliberately entry a pc with out authorization and acquiring data from a protected laptop; two counts of deliberately accessing a pc with out authorization and acquiring data from a protected laptop; and one rely of conspiracy to deliberately entry a pc with out authorization and with the intent to extort from an individual a factor of worth, transmitting a communication containing a menace.
He is also charged with one rely of constructing extortive communications; one rely of constructing threatening communications; and two counts of cyberstalking.