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French Hacker Arrested After Bragging On TV 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the foot-in-mouth-disease dept.
Orome1 writes "A French hacker has effectually tied a noose around his own neck when he bragged about hacking into the systems of a big government contractor on national TV. He participated in a television program called Further investigation, and he said — and demonstrated — that he has gained access to computers belonging to the French Army and Thales Group, a French company that provides information systems and services for the aerospace, defense, and security markets. He was arrested 6 days after the program was aired. The police discovered on his computer a great number of compromised credit card and bank account data."
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French Hacker Arrested After Bragging On TV

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  • *Cleverest* hacker in the world!

    • Re:Clever! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Zemran (3101) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:13AM (#35815052) Homepage Journal

      Stunning police work took 6 days to arrest him...

      • Re:Clever! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sodul (833177) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:44AM (#35815192) Homepage

        It was probably the chain of command: nobody decides anything at the lower level especially if it means to do some work, so someone has to decide to do something high up, and then lunch time takes most of the day to get the memo all the way down. The decision to investigate probably came from Thales, not the army or police. I'm from France btw. Last year my brother had rare industrial equipment stollen, we found the guy on local craigslist style ad (picture of said equipment in a kid room), gave the police name, and address of the thief. They did not lift a finger while acknowledging he was indeed the culprit.

        • by sorak (246725)

          It was probably the chain of command: nobody decides anything at the lower level especially if it means to do some work, so someone has to decide to do something high up, and then lunch time takes most of the day to get the memo all the way down. The decision to investigate probably came from Thales, not the army or police. I'm from France btw. Last year my brother had rare industrial equipment stollen, we found the guy on local craigslist style ad (picture of said equipment in a kid room), gave the police name, and address of the thief. They did not lift a finger while acknowledging he was indeed the culprit.

          Did they ever arrest him or was it one of those "meh, what're ya gonna do" responses?

        • by daem0n1x (748565)
          He picked his crime very well. If he had committed copyright infringement, Sarkozy would've got him guillotined!
      • Stunning police work took 6 days to arrest him...

        Well they probably spent the first 5 days assuming he was playing a joke on the TV network or the network was playing a joke on the viewers. From the article:
        ""Carl" was arrested on April 7 in Paris, 6 days after the program was aired."

        So April 1 was the broadcast date? Do the French "celebrate" April Fools day?

      • Re:Clever! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gutnor (872759) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:40AM (#35815408)
        We can hope that, maybe, they doubled check and some due process had to be done by Justice before authorizing any action. You know the innocent before proving guilty thing, even for an idiot bragging in a pub or on tv.

        But yeah, unfortunately, experience tells me you are probably right being sarcastic.

        • by leswt (1807216)
          Actually in France its the other way round (guilty until proven innocent), Napoleonic code
          • by Svippy (876087)

            Actually in France its the other way round (guilty until proven innocent), Napoleonic code

            Yes, because I am sure that the Fifth French Republic is a direct descendant of the First French Empire.

            • Until 1994, the penal code was an amended version of Napoleon's penal code. The civil code has not been reformed. We actually call the civil code, "Napoleon's code". The constitution was completely different under the Empire, however.
        • by rcamans (252182)

          In France you are not innocent until being proven guilty. If you are suspect, you are arrested, jailed, and investigated, in that order.

          • In France you are not innocent until being proven guilty. If you are suspect, you are arrested, jailed, and investigated, in that order.

            From the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" [hrcr.org] :

            "9. As all persons are held innocent until they shall have been declared guilty, if arrest shall be deemed indispensable, all harshness not essential to the securing of the prisoner's person shall be severely repressed by law."

            And wikipedia [wikipedia.org] tells us : "According to the preamble of the Constitution of the French Fifth Republic (adopted on 4 October 1958, and the current constitution), the principles set forth in the Declaration have constitutio

            • by BitZtream (692029)

              Yea, we have a constitution in America that gets ignored as well.

              Whats written on paper isn't always what gets done, and yet our population doesn't seem to care :(

      • by Meski (774546)
        Clouseau was on the job.
      • by Phoghat (1288088)
        Well, it was France. They probably had to finish dinner and a few bottles of vin ordinaire
    • Re:Clever! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DarkIye (875062) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:14AM (#35815060) Journal

      A certain proportion of hackers are so practised because they were raised by a computer, and as such are quite attention-seeking.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      If such a moron broke into their servers, the security must be awesome.

      • There is a huge difference between smart and wise.

        There is a huge difference between smart and good.

        There is a very small difference between wise and good.

        Our society values smart.

        P.S. Considering that this is an article about France, I'd say our American society, but a lot of our American values came from France, too. Very few participants in the French Revolution, for example, were wise. Many (such as Dr. Guillotine) were smart. Nope -- our entire society values smart. Not very wise, if you ask me.

        • by PitaBred (632671)

          American society doesn't value smart or wise. Have you seen Jersey Shore? How we hire, train and pay our teachers? Creationists?

          No, America doesn't value smart. We value entertainment, distraction and showmanship.

  • ...but please don't arrest me!
  • by walshy007 (906710) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @01:13AM (#35814910)
    soon as you get away with it enough you get complacent and let your guard down, thinking you are better than other criminals
    • by Anonymous Coward
      No. It really doesn't. Only to the stupid ones.
    • by Corse32 (682019)
      I would call this something beyond complacency... And also question whether he ever really had his guard "up". I do agree some crims get cocky though, maybe it stems from the same insecurities that drew them to find a lazy method of "making their way" in the first place... Sadly, daddy was right; he really is a useless fuckup at absolutely everything.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pasv (755179)
      The trick to being a successful criminal (or so i've read) is to assume that you will be caught and plan ahead: don't brag, have your harddrives encrypted and off when not in use, never use a handle associated with one you box from home, etc. But most importantly don't break anymore laws than you absolutely have to to gain your objective because each one furthers your sentencing. These just seem obvious but as the parent says people let their guard down when they think that no one will ever catch them.
      • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:14AM (#35815306)

        The trick to being a successful criminal (or so i've read) is to assume that you will be caught and plan ahead: don't brag, have your harddrives encrypted and off when not in use, never use a handle associated with one you box from home, etc. But most importantly don't break anymore laws than you absolutely have to to gain your objective because each one furthers your sentencing. These just seem obvious but as the parent says people let their guard down when they think that no one will ever catch them.

        I would add to that don't post about the precautions you take on slashdot.

        • by pasv (755179)
          I'm not a criminal. I'm just an observer of crimes and I find them interesting. These are only my observations. Nothing more.
      • by Stellian (673475)

        I could see the perceived value of bragging. Be it ego, respect from other hackers (thus further access), admiration from female hacketes (hey, I said 'perceived') there could be some value an intelligent individual might see in advertising.
        However, if you do go about advertising, some minimal common-sense is required:
        - make it so that the reported does not know or air your personal details; the police shouldn't be able to squeeze it out from him because a reporter has the legal right to protect his

    • by syousef (465911) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @01:44AM (#35814980) Journal

      soon as you get away with it enough you get complacent and let your guard down, thinking you are better than other criminals

      Being a loud mouth idiot does not happen to everyone. Being a criminal does not happen to everyone.

      This guy was on the wrong TV show. He should have been on "World's Dumbest Criminals"

      • by Kjella (173770)

        That there's smart and stupid people is no surprise. But I still get surprised about how smart and stupid the one and same person can be. Not just for lack of domain knowledge, but one moment seeming like a highly intelligent being and the next a drooling idiot...

        • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlieNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:25AM (#35815340) Homepage

          That there's smart and stupid people is no surprise. But I still get surprised about how smart and stupid the one and same person can be. Not just for lack of domain knowledge, but one moment seeming like a highly intelligent being and the next a drooling idiot...

          There is a difference between intelligence and wisdom, and in this case it's clearly the lack of wisdom that became the hacker's downfall.

          • by ColdFury (2040946)
            So what you're saying is that WIS is this guy's dump stat in exchange for a higher INT? I'm going to wager that like most computer hackers, his STR, DEX, CON, & CHA weren't that high either... no WONDER his INT is that high!
        • by DZign (200479)

          Maybe it's not just a matter of being stupid but just not being adult enough or understanding the consequences of what he did.

          I once got on an irc channel of some guys (kids ?) that wanted to start their own cracking group. Followed their conversation for 2 minutes and it was obvious they were like 14yo script kiddies that had no idea what they were doing or what the consequences could be.
          They thought they could legally trade cracked software for a few days, because one of the large groups put something lik

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Clearly, he doesn't have the experience of 1000 hackers.
    • soon as you get away with it enough you get complacent and let your guard down, thinking you are better than other criminals

      Yep. That quite well explains why there's regular bragging by celebrities on their drug usage on TV and nothing happens. Nah, we just treat hackers different than celebrities than sports stars even though we can already stereotype their likely nefarious actions. And every long once in a while, there's effort to go after people even when they lie to cover their crime.

      In short, it's a

  • This is the second article about evolution in four hours!

    • by bmo (77928)

      "Think of it as evolution in action" - Tony Rand
      from the book "Oath of Fealty" by Jerry Pournell and Larry Niven

      --
      BMO

  • we'd have a real problem. Actually I suppose we do. He probably represents 0.01% of the 'criminal community'. Only the dumbasses and patsies get caught.

    Eh, C'est la vie

  • when, in your rush to surrender, you trip over your own shoes.

  • Hearing this story reminds of a daily bit a local morning radio talk show did, "The Idiot of the Day" but i think he wins "Idiot of the decade"
  • by Securityemo (1407943) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @01:24AM (#35814942) Journal
    It seems unrelated - he was treated as an anonymous source by the television programme, according to TFA. I can't see how the french police could have gotten anything out of that. They probably followed the money trail somehow since he was using stolen credit card data. And good riddance too, anyone using stolen credit cards is no better than a pickpocket no matter how they go about it.
  • That pesky carpal tunnel won't help when he's trying to hold onto the soap
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Obligatory comment on /. but do you really think the police tracked him down in only 6 days? He was probably already being investigated, if a reporter could get in touch with him, investigators could probably do the same, under cover.

  • His bragging was obviously not intended to be a factual statement.
  • by Ozan (176854) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @01:57AM (#35815006) Homepage

    Surprisingly, a good rule of thumb for any criminal is to stay clear of any cardinal sin.

    Lust - don't let your dick make any decisions for you
    Greed - know when to stop
    Sloth - go the extra mile or else it might bite you
    Wrath - like lust, an emotion that can negatively influence your judgment
    Pride - the best criminal and the perfect crime is the one nobody knows about, and overconfidence leads to errors.
    Gluttony - excessive consumption raises suspicions
    Envy - don't try to outdo someone else. He is known for a reason.

    • by erroneus (253617)

      Awesome list. I couldn't have said it better. I wanted to say exactly that but also that there seems to be a kind of entitlement mentality among such people. "I am superior, you are inferior, I can do this and you can't stop me. If you don't want people in your stuff, you should make a better lock!"

      Seriously? A better lock? How good does security have to be before a criminal considers it to be a crime to break in?

    • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:07AM (#35815282) Homepage Journal
      If being a criminal is going to be that boring I thnk I will stick to my day job!
    • by aakhan (1281660)

      Well said. It is always very hard to resist any of those sins.

    • by Inda (580031)
      I'll add other rule:

      "You never get caught the first time"

      If people were caught the first time, there would be no crime.

      Do not repeat your crimes.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Do not repeat your crimes.

        The government of your choice is proof that you can repeat your crimes and profit. Indeed, they seem to be little more than mechanisms insuring such.

    • by MickLinux (579158)

      You know, this is extremely reminiscent of the end of the book of Deuteronomy, "the song of Moses." Basically, Moses has spent all this time saying, "do good things, and God will bless you; do bad things, and He'll chatise you, and eventually destroy you out of the promised land."

      In the Song of Moses, he says, "You can't do the good things: you're going to do the bad, and you're going to be destroyed out of the land."

      If you're engaged in criminality, you can't keep clear of cardinal sins. You're going to

    • Of course the problem is that most criminals are criminals because they indulge in one or more of those sins.
    • Self Destruct Button - don't have one that blows up your entire lair

    • In other word the best way to be a good criminal is to avoid features that would make you one in the first place.

  • Dude, videotaping this crime spree was the best idea we ever had!

  • The use of Hacker word is far-fetched on this case. Away from the conspiracy's drama done by the journalist for this show, and decrypting the reality of the situation for this guy, what we have ? Just a low-budget burglar, wanting to lather on TV.
  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @04:19AM (#35815562) Homepage

    His downfall was actually a mistake by the production team.

    Before emission they were masking his face and changing his voice, but during one sot where they filmed his screen while he ran a file browser on his PC, there was a directory name visible where information about his real name or "handle" could be seen.

    This was quickly fixed in the version that was put on the internet but it was too late, the companies he bragged about having hacked filed a suit and the police came storming through his door and confiscated all hit stuff.

    • This reminds me of a Monty Python sketch, where they showed someone with a blurred face, and a distorted voice. The announcer said that it was for his own protection. But then stated, "His real name is XXX and he lives at YYY".

      Note to self: If I commit a crime, do NOT go on television about it.

      • do NOT go on television about it

        That's a good start. Even better: if you do something illegal but don't want to get caught, don't ever tell anyone about it.

    • by errandum (2014454)

      No, ultimately it was his fault for going on TV.

      I just wonder how the reporter found him in the first place...

  • a) Dont be criminal

    b) if you are, dont believe that some hacking of army systems will give you positive karma

    c) If you nevertheless insist in that you have the right to do everything based on your own laws, then dont talk about that in television

  • Stupid git! The title says it all. The quote is from Oath of Fealty by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle.
  • And what else does Thales build?
    Pitot probes for Airbus A330, a la Air France Flight 447.
    Should be No Great Trick to hack into their systems...

  • Sounds like French firewalls are about as affective as the French military.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      In France our firewall is Open Office. It is teh best.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        for those who don't get the joke

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4LofqPCQew

  • Its far more likely that someone gave him access after THEY broke in, or he simply got in via some scripted toolkit he downloaded from someone else.

    $100 says he actually doesn't know how to get into anything, he road on someone elses coat tails.

  • Bragging is not a crime.
    Car numbers say nothing. He found them on the net.
    So who did the actual stealing?

    No proof...
  • The young love to brag on media. TV, Blog's, Facebook the list goes on. The problem is we are now well trained monkeys to record everything we do.

    Funny how when its something wrong there are surprised there in trouble.

    I hate to see what young people eagerly submit themselves too in 20 years.

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