Hacker Croll: Celeb Twitter Hacker Arrested in France by FBI
On March 23, an unemployed man was arrested for allegedly hacking the Twitter accounts of President Barack Obama, Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher.
The unnamed, 25-year-old suspect, whose username was “Hacker Croll,” was arrested in Clermont-Ferrand, France, approximately 425 kilometres south of Paris. He was released on March 24 by French and U.S. authorities after questioning. He faces up to 2 years in prison if convicted at his June 24 trial.
Police Investigate Twitter Security
French police and the FBI had been following his online footsteps since July when they discovered a hacker had accessed an administrative Twitter account and gained information about Twitter employees.
When Twitter CEO Evan Williams undermined the attack by saying the website wasn’t compromised, “Hacker Croll” sent 310 confidential documents to TechCrunch containing partner agreements, financial projects, notes from executive meetings and phone logs—all from Twitter employees.
TechCrunch had been criticized for publishing some of the leaked documents, but the site argued it was within its legal right to do so and bring attention to Twitter’s security issues.
How “Hacker Croll” Hacked Twitter
Police said they don’t believe he had been hacking Twitter for financial gain, but that he was motivated by curiosity, and possibly bragging rights.
He was a young man spending time on the Internet,” said prosecutor Jean-Yves Coquillat, who added that “Hacker Croll” is known for minor scams that total $20,000. “He is the sort who likes to claim responsibility for what he has done.
Adeline Champagnat of the police’s Cybercrime unit said Croll hacked into accounts by guessing information needed to gain entrance, which is considerably more time-consuming than other hacking methods.
In early 2009, a hacker with the username “GMZ” gained access to accounts of Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and CNN’s Rick Sanchez.