Alleged hacker, Joseph O’Connor, 22, who is known by the name ‘PlugWalkJoe’ online, has been arrested in Spain in connection with the July 2020 hacking scandal of celebrity Twitter accounts of Bill Gates, Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Elon Musk.
He used the hacked accounts to ask followers to send bitcoin to a bitcoin account, promising to double their money. He managed to swindle more than $180,000 out of unsuspecting victims in the process.
He hacked over 130 Twitter accounts, including those of Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Elon Musk.
He was arrested by Spanish National Police on a warrant issued by a US federal court stemming from the high-profile hack.
The US Justice Department said O’Connor faces charges related to unauthorized computer access, extortion and cyberstalking.
O’Connor has previously denied being behind the Twitter hack and told the New York Times:
‘I don’t care – they can come arrest me.
‘I would laugh at them. I haven’t done anything.’
Criminal investigators in California started receiving tips about Mr O’Connor, who uses the online moniker PlugwalkJoe, as far back as 2018, the complaint says.
Witnesses who had heard what Mr O’Connor’s voice sounded like on various Google voice calls were able to help law enforcement identify him.
A Justice Department spokesman said Mr O’Connor was expected to have a detention hearing in Spain on Thursday.