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French hacker arrested over hijack of Obama Twitter account

Arrest follows month-long investigation

French police have arrested a man, known online as 'Hacker Croll', following the hijacking of President Obama's Twitter account.

According to news service Agence-France Presse, the arrest came after a month-long joint investigation by the FBI and French law enforcement authorities.

The 25-year-old hacker, who was in custody in the city of Clermont-Ferrand, was previously known to local police for "minor scams" totalling about $20,000. He was scheduled to appear in court June 24.

Hacker Croll's attacks on Twitter and other targets such as Facebook and Gmail accounts, however, don't appear to be financially motivated, the news service report said.

The hacker's arrest stemmed from an FBI tip alerting local police to his presence in France last year.

The attacks on Obama's Twitter account and those belonging to more than 30 other celebrities and organisations took place last January. Among those whose Twitter accounts were hijacked were Britney Spears and CNN reporter Rick Sanchez.

In a blog following the attacks, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said 33 accounts had been broken into by someone who had "hacked" Twitter's own support tools.

The hijacked accounts were then used to send mostly offensive messages that purported to come from those users.

Hacker Croll again made the news last July after he broke into a Gmail account belonging to an administrative assistant of Twitter's Stone.

The hacker then used that account to access the employee's Google Apps account and steal hundreds of pages of Twitter internal documents including sensitive financial projections.

The illegally accessed documents were then forwarded to numerous websites, some of which later published the documents.

See also: Twitter spam drops to under 1 percent


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