Bella Thorne thanks the FBI for arresting suspect connected to 2019 hack of her Snapchat who threatened to ‘release nude photos found on the account’
- Alleged hacker Joseph O’Connor, 22, was arrested in Spain on Wednesday on a warrant issued by a US federal court
- He faces multiple charges in connection with the July 2020 Twitter hacking scandal, which involved 130 accounts belonging to celebrities and politicians
- He is also accused in the hack of Bella Thorne’s Snapchat account in 2019, as well as compromising the account of TikTok star Addison Rae
- At the time of Thorne’s hack, the hacker threatened to release nude photos of the star if she did not ‘posted a tweet thanking him for returning her account’
- Instead, the actress decided to share her own nude photographs to Twitter as a means of ‘[taking her] power back’
- Bella took to Instagram on Wednesday to thank the FBI for tracking down the hacking suspect and for taking ‘a step in the right direction’
- O’Connor is the fourth person to be charged in relation to the July 2020 Twitter hack
Bella Thorne has thanked the FBI for ‘searching tirelessly’ and, eventually, tracking down one of the men allegedly responsible for hacking her Snapchat account in June 2019.
Joseph O’Connor, a 22-year-old British man, was arrested in Spain on Wednesday in connection to Thorne’s 2019 hack, as well as last year’s monumental hack of Twitter accounts belonging to celebrities and politicians.
At the time, the hacker had threatened to ‘release nude photos found on the account unless Ms. Thorne posted a tweet thanking him for returning her account,’ according to an FBI affidavit obtained by the NYT.
Instead of acquiescing to the hacker’s demands, Thorne, 23, decided to share her own nude photographs to Twitter as a means of ‘[taking her] power back.’
Reacting to the news of O’Connor’s arrest on Instagram, Thorne wrote: ‘I want to thank the FBI for searching tirelessly for the person who made my life and others a living hell.’
On deciding to share her own nudes in wake of the hack, Bella said that she has ‘felt violated many times in my life, but I thought I didn’t have a way out, so I made a choice.
‘My choice. A choice I didn’t want to make but felt I had to because I wouldn’t spend another day feeling someone was taking away from me my body, my soul, my mental health, and my love and hope for the world,’ she wrote.
‘So thank you, FBI, for a step in the right direction and just one less bad guy to worry about. Today I woke up with hope again, and a weight lifted off my shoulders.’
Although she is overjoyed by the arrest, Thorne took a moment to ‘get something across that I have wanted to say for a long time.
‘For all the people who think because a woman is comfortable with their body and how they portray themselves that they are “asking for it,” for the people who think “she deserves it” because she was there or had a beer in her hand or wore a short skirt, and for the people that think because she took the photo she deserves to be humiliated with it – and she deserves for everyone to look at it and inscribe every piece and bit of her in their mind.
‘Or because she took the photo, she deserves that one moment to follow her, taunt her for the rest of her life through every waking moment.
‘To those who made those remarks, they were disgusting. I hope you feel disgusting. To those few people. Sincerely f**k you,’ concluded the former Disney star.
At the time of her hack in 2019, Thorne explained to her Twitter following that her account had been compromised for ’24 hours’ and that, along with threatening to release her nudes, the hacker had ‘sent [her] multiple nude photos of other celebs.’
‘He won’t stop with me or them he will just keep going,’ she stressed.
The Spanish National Police acted on a warrant on Wednesday issued by a US federal court. The Justice Department said O’Connor faces charges related to unauthorized computer access, extortion and cyberstalking.
O’Connor, who goes by the name ‘PlugWalkJoe’ online, is also accused of helping orchestrate the hack of social media personality Addison Rae’s TikTok account, according to the Justice Department.
In July 2020, O’Connor, who is the fourth person charged in the incident, allegedly hacked over 130 Twitter accounts, including those of Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Elon Musk.
The hackers hijacked the celebrity accounts and asked their followers of them to send bitcoin to an account, promising to double their money.
They managed to swindle more than $180,000 out of unsuspecting victims in the process.
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.’
Earlier this year the Florida teenager accused of masterminding the attack was sentenced to three years in juvenile prison in a plea agreement.
Graham Ivan Clark, 18, described as the mastermind of the July 2020 ‘Bit-Con’ worldwide hack, was sentenced to the maximum allowed under Florida’s Youthful Offender Act.
Clark was 17 when he was charged, and his case was transferred to a Florida state court because of his juvenile status.
According to authorities, Clark used his access to Twitter’s internal systems to take over the accounts of several companies and celebrities and used a combination of ‘technical breaches and social engineering,’ netting some $100,000.
A tweet that appeared on Tesla founder Musk’s Twitter feed said: ‘Happy Wednesday! I am giving back Bitcoin to all of my followers. I am doubling all payments sent to the Bitcoin address below. You send 0.1 BTC, I send 0.2 BTC back!’
It added that the offer was ‘only going on for 30 minutes.’
Twitter said at the time that the July 15 incident stemmed from a ‘spear phishing’ attack which deceived employees about the origin of the messages.