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British Man Sentenced to 5 Years for Multi-Million Dollar SIM-Swapping Hustle

southern district of new york
Image source: iStockPhoto

NEW YORK – In a significant development in the world of cybercrime, Joseph O'Connor, a British man notorious for his involvement in an elaborate Twitter hack and a separate crypto-related SIM-swapping scheme, has been handed a 5-year prison sentence by a federal judge, according to a report by Inner City Press.

During the sentencing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday, Judge Jed Rakoff emphasized the impact of O'Connor's actions on the lives of numerous individuals. O'Connor's orchestrated Twitter hack in 2020 was particularly devastating, as he gained control over prominent accounts, including that of CoinDesk, to execute a bitcoin giveaway scam. This fraudulent activity netted him approximately $103,960.

Furthermore, O'Connor, who also operated under the online alias PlugWalkJoe, admitted to engaging in SIM-swapping attacks aimed at high-profile executives within the cryptocurrency industry. These attacks involved manipulating mobile network providers to transfer phone numbers to devices under the hacker's control, enabling unauthorized access to sensitive accounts. As a result, O'Connor successfully stole digital currencies valued at around $794,000.

The audacious hacker managed to elude capture for a year, skillfully evading authorities, before finally being apprehended in Spain in 2021. Having already served 28 months of his sentence, O'Connor now faces just under three years of imprisonment.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the ever-growing threats posed by cybercriminals in the digital age. The sophistication of O'Connor's schemes and the substantial financial gains he obtained underscore the urgent need for robust cybersecurity measures and enhanced cooperation between law enforcement agencies worldwide.

As the global community grapples with the challenges presented by cybercrime, it is essential to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding sensitive information and preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future.


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