The owner of the Twitter hacking that triggered the response is in jail

The owner of the Twitter hacking that triggered the response is in jail

The Twitter hack of 2020 was the most talked about cyber crime of the last few years. Three years after the incident, the accused were sent to prison by a federal court in the United States.

Accused 24-year-old Joseph James O'Connor was found guilty of four counts of computer hacking, fraud and cyber surveillance last May. A federal court in New York sentenced him to five years in prison on Friday.

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O'Connor agreed to return nearly $800,000 in hacking proceeds to victims.

O'Connor, a British national, was extradited from Spain to the United States earlier this year at the request of US lawyers. Since then he is in court.

Judge ZS Rakoff told the hearing that O'Connor's more than two years in prison will be waived during the trial. As a result, he will now serve half of the sentence.

O'Connor could have faced a maximum sentence of 77 years in prison, a Reuters report said. And, the US Department of Justice demanded a seven-year sentence.

In court, O'Connor called his crime "stupid and senseless" and apologized to the victim and the court.

O'Connor was accused of "using sophisticated technical skills for nefarious purposes to conduct sophisticated SIM swap attacks to steal large amounts of cryptocurrency".

Through this, he infiltrated Twitter's system, accessed the victims' computers, took control of their social media accounts, and conducted cyber surveillance on two victims, including a minor.

O'Connor, known online as 'Plugwackzo', was part of a group of hackers who took control of dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts, including Apple, Binance, Bill Gates, Joe Biden and Elon Musk, and spread the 'get rich quick crypto currency' message online.

Earlier, O'Connor used phone-based 'social engineering' to fool Twitter staff into breaking into the network. His actions allowed the hacker group to penetrate Twitter's network. Another convicted member of the gang was Graham Evan Clarke, known as Kirk. He used the internal admin tool to get into the network and take control of the accounts.

Following this security failure, Twitter improved its cybersecurity controls and introduced a 'Hardware Security Key' for employees to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Two years after that hacking, its details came out.

A few months after the attack, Twitter hired Peter "Maj" Jatko, a former hacker himself, as its chief security officer. Hackers gain near-godlike control over the Twitter network, he explains, in what he calls 'god mode'. This gives them the ability to post anything from anyone's account.

Twitter fired Jatko as head of security in early 2022.

Jatko called the attack "the biggest hack in the history of social media." In 2022, he filed a public awareness lawsuit with regulators and blamed Twitter for the cyber failure. 

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