From Tweets to Defeat: Notorious Hacker Sentenced to 5 Years After Estepona Arrest


The hacker was tracked down to Estepona. Photo credit: DANIEL CONSTANTE / Shutterstock

A PROLIFIC hacker who was arrested in Estepona in 2021 has been sentenced to five years in a US prison after being extradited in April this year to face justice in the country

The verdict was announced by the US attorney’s office on Saturday, June 24, concluding a two-year-long extradition saga that unfolded after the hacker’s arrest in Estepona.

The 24-year-old British national, Joseph James O’Connor, was residing in Estepona when he masterminded a notorious Twitter hack, targeting several figures in the public eye.

Along with his hacking group, O’Connor targeted the accounts of high-profile celebrities, including Joe Biden and Elon Musk, in an audacious Bitcoin scam. O’Conner targeted the celebrities under his account named ‘PlugWalkJoe’.

The hacking group compromised over 130 Twitter accounts, including those of Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden. O’Connor also targeted American actress Bella Thorne, threatening to release nude photographs hacked from her phone unless she met his demands.

O’Connor also admitted to stealing a staggering €726,000 in virtual currency from a New York-based cryptocurrency company in addition to the hackings.

He pleaded guilty to a range of charges, including computer intrusions, wire fraud, money laundering, and stalking in the case. In addition to the prison term, O’Connor is required to pay compensation to his victims.

The impact of O’Connor’s hacking crimes was profound, causing emotional distress to the victims who suffered significantly from harassment, threats, and extortion.

Two other individuals were also charged in connection with the hacking incidents, while another alleged mastermind received a three-year sentence in a juvenile prison.

US prosecutors want the case to serve as a deterrent for other would-be hackers sending a clear message that cyber-criminals will face the consequences of their actions.

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