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Obama French Twitter Hacker Arrested, Won't Be Extradited

Francois, a French "hacker" who apparently gone into the Twitter account of US President Barack Obama as well as dozen of others, has been arrested by the French police who teamed up with FBI agents.

The 25-year old, who goes by the nickname of "Hacker Croll", gained access to the Twitter accounts by using the answers to questions asked as part of the password reminder process on his victims' email accounts.

The same technique was used in 2008 to get access to the Yahoo account of former US vice-president hopeful, Sarah Palin.

Apart from Mr Obama, he also managed to get access to the accounts of Lilu Allen, Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher who has more than 4.6 million followers.

The hack happened back in April 2009 and "Hacker Croll" posted details - including emails and phone numbers - on top of screen captures on internet forums as well as to websites, including Techcrunch.

Surprisingly, the unemployed man didn't have any former computer skills and reminds us of the case of Gary McKinnon.

That said, while the latter will be extradited soon to the US for hacking into military computers a few years ago, it is very, very unlikely that the French authorities will kowtow to the US administrations.

Our Comments

It will be interesting to see how the French treat the hacker and compare it to the kind of treatment that Gary Mckinnon gets from the authorities in his own country. As for the similarities between the two cases, they are quite troubling indeed.

Related Links

Obama Twitter account 'hacked by Frenchman' (opens in new tab)

(BBC)

Frenchman arrested over hacking Obama Twitter feed (opens in new tab)

(Telegraph)

Celebrity Twitter hacker arrested (opens in new tab)

(Webuser)

Twitter hacker suspect held in France (opens in new tab)

(Guardian)

French suspect grilled over Obama Twitter hack (opens in new tab)

(The Reg)

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.