James Martin / CNET

British man arrested in Spain for alleged role in massive publicity hack Twitter accounts that targeted politicians and celebrities in 2020, the US Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Spanish National Police arrested Joseph O’Connor, 22, on behalf of US authorities. In a criminal complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco, O’Connor was also charged with computer intrusions related to takeovers of TikTok and Snapchat user accounts, as well as cyberstalking of a minor. O’Connor was charged with a total of 10 counts.

Hackers have taken over more than 130 accounts, including those of Joe Biden, Elon musk, Bill Gates, Kanye west and Barack Obama, in July 2020 and tricked people into sending them over $ 100,000 worth of Bitcoin to the addresses in the tweets. The widespread hacking raised concerns about whether Twitter was doing enough to protect the safety of its users ahead of the US presidential election.

Twitter said the hack was the result of a “coordinated social engineering attack” on its employees.

O’Connor is not the only person to have been arrested in connection with the hack. Last year, the Justice Department 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 was not immediately clear if O’Connor had legal representation.

Two other people, UK resident Mason Sheppard and Florida resident Nima Fazeli, have also been arrested for their alleged role in the hack.


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