The FBI and French police have arrested a 25 year-old unemployed man for targeting the Twitter accounts of, among others, Barack Obama.
The man, who had previously carried out minor internet fraud, lives near Clermont Ferrand in central France, and was tracked down after the FBI notified French police last July that one or more people were trying to gain access to the social networking site.
“This young man who lives in the Puy de Dôme used a social engineering technique to break into the passwords for Twitter’s site administrators. He all but took control of Twitter and could, for example, have deleted someone’s account easily, because he was an administrator with control over the network just as you have control over your PC,” says police officer Adeline Champagnat.
In fact the accused is not even a hacker in the traditional sense. He simply trawled the net, finding the name of the site administrator and then tracking down any personal detail about them or their family like children’s birthdays, entering passwords based on their personal lives until striking it lucky. Therein lies a lesson for us all.
Known as HackerCroll, it appears the man did not get as far as breaking into personal accounts, and was only targeting Obama and other high-profile figures for the thrill of the challenge, and obtaining spicy details of their personal lives rather than gathering sensitive data or making money. As he also broke into Britney Spears account, who knows what he might have dug up…
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