Celebrity Twitter hacker caught by French police

Filed Under: Law & order, Social networks, Twitter

A French hacker who is alleged to have broken into Twitter's internal administration system, giving him access to the details of millions of Twitter users including those of Barack Obama, Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher and Lily Allen, has been arrested by French authorities.

The unemployed 25-year-old man, who still lives with his parents and goes by the online handle of "Hacker Croll", was questioned by police in Clermont-Ferrand, and according to French police explained how he gained access to Twitter's internal systems in April 2009, exposing the email addresses of celebrity accounts, mobile phone numbers (if one was associated with the account), and the list of accounts blocked by the affected user.

Twitter admin hack

Adeline Champagnat, of the French cybercrime unit, said that was able to access information about the famous Twitter users by breaking into accounts belonging to Twitter's own staff. Potentially that meant that he could view information about all of Twitter's users.

Although Hacker Croll posted information about the celebrities and screenshots of the stolen information on websites, it is not being claimed that he benefited financially from the hack - something which may play to his favour in a future court case.

Nevetheless, not profiting financially from a hack does not make it legal.

As the heat turned up on Hacker Croll last year, and the FBI shared information with the French authorities, the hacker removed details of the hack from internet message boards:

Hacker Croll removes screenshots of hacked Twitter accounts from the net

Hacker Croll is scheduled to appear in court on June 24th.

, ,

You might like

About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.