The Frenchman who hacked into the Twitter accounts of Barack Obama and Britney Spears claims he is a “kind pirate” hoping to expose poor internet security.
Francois Cousteix, an unemployed 23-year-old from France, describes himself as a “kind pirate” who used low-tech methods of guessing passwords, often aided by info on the Facebook pages of Twitter employees.
“I am not a hacker,” he tells AFP. “I did not act with a destructive aim. I wanted to warn them, to show up the faults in the system.”
Local prosecutor Jean-Yves Coquillat agreed: “He is not a hacker in the classic sense. He entered a house whose door had been left open.”
Cousteix says he attacked Twitter and high-profile users like Obama and Britney Spears to show “that big companies are no more secure than any Internet user. That’s the message I wanted to get across.”
This is not the first time Francois has been in trouble with the law. Last year he was given a suspended eight-month prison sentence and a small fine for gambling online with money that did not belong to him, police said.
San Francisco-based Twitter did not immediately reply to an email from AFP about his arrest while the FBI said it was looking into the report.
In July, leading US technology blog TechCrunch.com reported it had received a file containing 310 confidential corporate and personal documents from “Hacker Croll” about Twitter and the firm’s employees. TechCrunch said the documents included minutes of executive meetings, partnership agreements, financial projections, calendars, phone logs, office plans and other information. The blog published some of the documents.
Twitter founder Evan Williams confirmed to TechCrunch at the time that documents had been obtained, but insisted the hacker did not gain access to any Twitter user accounts.
Known as “Hacker Croll” online (based on a character from the Pacman video game), he is scheduled to go on trial in June 24th and faces 2 years in prison on hacking charges, notes AP. [via AFP and SkyNews]