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Cops: Notorious Twitter hacker caught, released

A 25-year-old French hacker who goes by the alias 'Hacker Croll' was nabbed this week after the FBI tipped off French authorities, according to an Agence France-Presse story.

Twitter's equivalent of an elusive masked bandit was caught in France this week, according to an Agence France-Presse story citing police sources, after the FBI began working with authorities there. A 25-year-old who goes by the name "Hacker Croll," believed to be responsible for two high-profile Twitter hacking incidents in which both celebrity accounts and internal servers were breached, was reportedly in police custody in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand before being released later on Wednesday.

The hacker was allegedly behind an attack about a year ago in which the Twitter accounts of celebrities ranging from Britney Spears to President Obama were breached; he gained access to a Twitter administrator's password by hacking that administrator's Yahoo Mail account first. (Another, similar incident involving celebrity Twitter accounts had taken place several months prior, also after a sabotage on a weak password; an 18-year-old hacker named "GMZ" claimed responsibility.)

It's also likely that the hacker arrested in France was responsible for an internal Twitter security breach that gave him access to hundreds of sensitive company documents--which he then turned over to industry blog TechCrunch. The TechCrunch incident wasn't mentioned in the AFP story, but since the name "Hacker Croll" was associated with that one, too, it's likely that the same person was responsible.

The hacker, whom AFP reports is unemployed and lives with his parents, appears to have told police what he did to sabotage Twitter's servers and was then released with a court date set for June 24. He was already on authorities' radar for some minor online scam activity, and allegedly has also targeted Facebook and Gmail--though has never attempted to profit financially from his hijinks.