UK man responsible for massive 2020 Twitter hack arrested in Spain

Hands typing on desktop computer keyboard.
Hands typing on desktop computer keyboard. Photo credit Getty Images

A United Kingdom man was arrested Wednesday in Estepona, Spain, by Spanish National Police 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.

Victims included Kim Kardashian, former President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden and Kanye West.

Joseph O’Connor, 22, is charged by criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

O’Connor is also facing charges related to takeovers of TikTok and Snapchat user accounts and cyberstalking of a juvenile victim.

He faces 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.

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 its REACT task force.

Assistant Deputy Chief Adrienne Rose of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Frentzen and Andrew Dawson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California are prosecuting the case.