2020 Twitter Hacker Sentenced to 5 Years on Crypto Theft, SIM Swapping Scheme

The “Twitter hacker” plundered nearly $1 million from victims of his elaborate online schemes.

AccessTimeIconJun 23, 2023 at 9:11 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 26, 2023 at 8:22 p.m. UTC

A British man who made roughly $900,000 in an elaborate Twitter hack and a separate crypto-related SIM-swapping scheme received a 5-year sentence from a federal judge on Friday, Inner City Press reported.

People’s lives were affected by Joseph O’Connor’s actions, said Judge Jed Rakoff during the sentencing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday.

O’Connor, also known by his social media handle PlugWalkJoe, engineered a devastating Twitter hack in 2020, hijacking prominent accounts on the platform (including CoinDesk) and using them to promote a bitcoin giveaway scam. He made $103,960 from the scheme.

O’Connor pled guilty to partaking in SIM-swapping attacks that targeted high-profile executives in the cryptocurrency industry, resulting in the theft of $794,000 worth of digital currencies.

The hacker evaded authorities’ grasp for a year before his arrest in Spain in 2021. He has served 28 months of his sentence, with just under three years left to serve.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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Elizabeth Napolitano

Elizabeth Napolitano was a news reporter at CoinDesk.