A citizen of the United Kingdom was arrested in Estepona, Spain by Spanish national police pursuant to a U.S. request for his arrest on multiple charges in connection with the July 2020 hack of Twitter that resulted in the compromise of over 130 Twitter accounts, including those belonging to politicians, celebrities, and companies.
Joseph O’Connor, 22, is charged by criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
According to court documents, in addition to the July 15, 2020, hack of Twitter, O’Connor is charged with computer intrusions related to takeovers of TikTok and Snapchat user accounts. O’Connor was also charged with cyberstalking a juvenile victim.
O’Connor is charged with three counts of conspiracy to intentionally access a computer without authorization and obtaining information from a protected computer; two counts of intentionally accessing a computer without authorization and obtaining information from a protected computer; one count of conspiracy to intentionally access a computer without authorization and, with the intent to extort from a person a thing of value, transmitting a communication containing a threat; one count of making extortive communications; one count of making threatening communications; and two counts of cyberstalking. If convicted, a federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds for the Northern District of California, Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair of the FBI San Francisco Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI San Francisco Division is investigating the case, with assistance from the IRS-Criminal Investigation Cyber Unit; the U.S. Secret Service, San Francisco and Headquarters; and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and their REACT task force.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Frentzen and Andrew Dawson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California and Assistant Deputy Chief Adrienne Rose of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting the case.
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs is providing significant assistance. The U.K.’s National Crime Agency and the Spanish National Police provided assistance in the investigation and arrest.