Spanish National Police arrested a man who allegedly hacked Twitter last year
The United States Department of Justice Office (DOJ) released a statement yesterday, reporting that the Spanish National Police arrested a man who allegedly played a role in a Twitter hack last year. Joseph O’Connor (22 years old) was arrested in Estepona, Spain. The U.K. citizen faces multiple charges in the United States.
U.S. Requested O’Connor’s Arrest on Multiple Charges
On July 15, 2020, Twitter faced a major hack with resulted in great security risks for users. Over 130 Twitter accounts were compromised, including accounts that belong to celebrities, corporations, and politicians. In addition to the attack on Twitter, O’Connor is being charged with hacking into computers as part of a hacking endeavor on TikTok and Snapchat user accounts. He is also facing charges of cyberstalking a juvenile.
O’Connor’s full charges are as follows:
- Three counts of conspiracy to intentionally access a computer without authorization and obtaining information from a protected computer
- Two counts of intentionally accessing a computer without authorization and obtaining information from a protected computer
- One count of conspiracy to intentionally access a computer without authorization and, with the intent to extort from a person a thing of value, transmitting a communication containing a threat
- One count of making extortive communications
- One count of making threatening communications
- Two counts of cyberstalking
*A protected computer is a computer owned or used by the U.S. Government, a financial institution, or those used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication.
O’Connor is “charged by criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.”
With help from the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, authorities were able to identify and track down the alleged hacker. The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency and the Spanish National Police made the arrest.
The FBI San Francisco Division is Investigating This Case
The San Francisco division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation on this case with assistance from many departments and entities:
- The IRS-Criminal Investigation Cyber unit
- U.S. Secret Service
- Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office and REACT task force
Prosecutors for this case include:
- Assistant Deputy Chief Adrienne Rose of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section
- Assistant U.S. Attorney William Frentzen (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California)
- Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Dawson (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California)
Addressing International Cybercrime
In light of recent cyberattacks on U.S. infrastructure, the U.S. Federal government has started a bounty program, offering possible rewards and protection in exchange for real information that would lead to the to the identification or location of cybercriminals or anyone who violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).
This program is meant to encourage citizens, especially those knowledgeable of the inner-workings of hacker or ransomware gangs to come forward with information for an incentive.
To read more on the program and gain access to the tip line onion link, see US Feds Issue $10 Million Bounty On Foreign Hackers.
Until a verdict has been decided for Joseph O’Connor, it is unclear what his sentencing may be.