A British Twitter scammer pleaded guilty to computer intrusion and cryptocurrency theft via SIM-swap fraud. In 2020, Joseph James O’Connor and others hacked the Twitter accounts of Elon Musk and Michael Bloomberg to disseminate a Bitcoin link promising large profits immediately.
The assault was distinct from past impersonation schemes in that it exploited real accounts of well-known people. The thieves also took $794,000 in cryptocurrency from three executives of a wallet firm through a SIM-swap scam. These attacks enabled them to steal cryptocurrency from two clients’ wallets. They subsequently laundered the money through numerous transactions, some of which were converted to Bitcoin. Some stolen cryptocurrency ended up in O’Connor’s personal exchange account.
O’Connor, the Twitter scammer, alias PlugwalkJoe, also used a SIM switch to hijack a Snapchat account and put one of his victims in danger with swatting assaults. Swatting assaults target victims by directing police enforcement action against them via emergency calls that implicate the victim in a crime.
After pleading guilty to cybercrime, including conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, extortive communications, and sending threatening communications, O’Connor faces 77 years in prison. On June 23, he will be sentenced and must relinquish his stolen cryptocurrency.
Last year, hackers used Bitcoin investor Kevin O’Leary’s account to distribute Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Twitter Scammer Used Easy and Unsophisticated Tricks
Initially, American intelligence believed the breach was the work of a single person. According to Alex Stamos of the Stanford Internet Observatory, a request for Bitcoin donations revealed an inept hoax.
The New York Times confirmed the involvement of four individuals throughout the hack probe by matching their social media profiles to their crypto addresses. According to the Times, a Discord user going by the alias Kirk reportedly sold Twitter names for Bitcoin in order to demonstrate his access to Twitter’s internals. The Twitter scammer allegedly purchased the moniker while joking that he couldn’t be arrested because he hadn’t done anything wrong.