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Man hacked celebrity Twitter accounts in Bitcoin scam and threatened to leak nude photos | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

A Liverpool man hacked into celebrity social media accounts as part of a Bitcoin scam and threatened to leak nude pictures of actress Bella Thorne.

Joseph O’Connor, 24, pleaded guilty to cybercrime charges last month nearly three years after he and a number of others hijacked more than 130 Twitter accounts including Kanye West, Elon Musk and Joe Biden as part of a Bitcoin scam. An estimated 350m Twitter users viewed suspicious tweets with thousands duped into believing the crypto giveaway was real.

O’Connor, who went by the online name Plugwalkjoe, also stole nearly $800,000 worth of cryptocurrency – and threatened to leak nude images of Bella Thorne. O’Connor was arrested in the Southern Spanish coastal town of Estepona in July 2021.

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A court document showed he was wanted for hacking the Snapchat account of an unidentified public figure who he tried to extort with the threat of publishing nude photos.

Reacting to the news of his arrest two years ago, Thorne, who is also a singer, confirmed she was the victim and said O’Connor had made her life “a living hell”. She said after his arrest she “woke up with hope again and a weight off her shoulders”.

A Spanish court agreed to extradite O’Connor to the USA in April and last month pleaded guilty to a litany of charges that included conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit money laundering and stalking two victims, among others.


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