A UK man was arrested in Spain for his alleged role in a massive hack of high-profile Twitter accounts that targeted politicians and celebrities in 2020, the US Department of Justice said Wednesday.
22-year-old Joseph O'Connor was arrested by Spanish National Police on behalf of US authorities. O'Connor was also charged with computer intrusions related to takeovers of TikTok and Snapchat user accounts, along with cyberstalking a juvenile in a criminal complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco. O'Connor was charged with a total of 10 counts.
More than 130 accounts were taken over by hackers, including those of Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Kanye West and Barack Obama, in July 2020 and duped people into sending more than $100,000 of Bitcoin to addresses cited in the tweets. The widespread hack raised concerns about whether Twitter was doing enough to protect the security of its users ahead of the US presidential election.
“The hack was the result of a ‘coordinated social engineering attack’ on its employees,” Twitter said.
O'Connor isn't the only person who's been arrested in connection with the hack. Last year, the Department of Justice filed 30 felony charges against Florida teenager Graham Ivan Clark, who was 17 at the time. Clark, accused of being the "mastermind" behind the Twitter hack, then pleaded guilty in exchange for a three-year prison sentence.
It wasn't immediately clear if O'Connor had legal representation.
Two other people, UK resident Mason Sheppard and Florida resident Nima Fazeli, were also arrested for their alleged role in the hack.