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French Hacker Arrested After Bragging On TV

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the foot-in-mouth-disease dept.

Security 134

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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134 comments

Clever! (1)

mellon85 (1723140) | about 3 years ago | (#35814906)

*Cleverest* hacker in the world!

Re:Clever! (3, Insightful)

Zemran (3101) | about 3 years ago | (#35815052)

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

Re:Clever! (4, Interesting)

sodul (833177) | about 3 years ago | (#35815192)

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.

Re:Clever! (1)

sorak (246725) | about 3 years ago | (#35817052)

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?

He demo's breaking into gov't comp on April 1? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#35815374)

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:He demo's breaking into gov't comp on April 1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815666)

No, the program was aired on Februari 28. You can watch it here : http://info.france2.fr/complement-denquete/?page=accueil&id_rubrique=101. ( A revoir en intégralité) .Goto 38:39 min.

Re:He demo's breaking into gov't comp on April 1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35816018)

Do the French "celebrate" April Fools day?

Yes, they call it "poisson d'avril".

Re:He demo's breaking into gov't comp on April 1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35816388)

Fish of April?

Re:He demo's breaking into gov't comp on April 1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35816440)

Yes, victims of pranks used to get a fish-shaped mark [ancientstandard.com] placed on their backs.

Re:Clever! (3, Insightful)

gutnor (872759) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Clever! (2)

leswt (1807216) | about 3 years ago | (#35815888)

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

Re:Clever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815956)

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

Of course, they also still cut the head of murderers and eat rats.... Don't be so ignorant. :-)

Re:Clever! (1)

Svippy (876087) | about 3 years ago | (#35816286)

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.

Re:Clever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35816408)

Until proven otherwise, yes!

Re:Clever! (3, Insightful)

DarkIye (875062) | about 3 years ago | (#35815060)

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

Re:Clever! (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 3 years ago | (#35815454)

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

That's why I don't overvalue smart. (2)

MickLinux (579158) | about 3 years ago | (#35816034)

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.

happens to everyone (4, Insightful)

walshy007 (906710) | about 3 years ago | (#35814910)

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

Re:happens to everyone (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35814954)

No. It really doesn't. Only to the stupid ones.

Re:happens to everyone (1)

Corse32 (682019) | about 3 years ago | (#35814956)

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:happens to everyone (3, Informative)

pasv (755179) | about 3 years ago | (#35814970)

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.

Re:happens to everyone (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:happens to everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815648)

If I got into that mindset of taking precautions, I'm not sure where I would stop.

This makes me think of the first night I played minecraft on a fairly large server. I was taking every precaution I could think of to protect my stuff and even inventing several on the spot. My wife saw me doing this and thought I lost it. She could not believe how paranoid was that someone was going to take my stuff. It's not paranoid if they are out to get you. She was shocked to see how right I was after my area was broken into 4-5 times that night and next day. But my stuff was safe.

There are endless precautions you can take with technology and I don't know where I would stop.

Re:happens to everyone (1)

Stellian (673475) | about 3 years ago | (#35815796)

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 sources in most countries
  - make sure you don't admit directly any wrongdoing, say "- Here's an video where a some guy I've met on IRC hacks into NASA servers - Some guy, huh ? - Yup, I don't do that... it would be illegal - Ah.... I see ! (big grin)"
  - make sure you don't keep incriminating evidence laying around, and always expect "the raid"; decent computer hygiene, encryption, digital and physical shredding of anything that might connect you to advertised or past acts of hacking etc.

Because legislators are morons and don't know the difference between stealing credit cards and hardening your kernel, the above don't apply only to criminals, but any person that's somehow connected to the computer security field. The recent PS3 criminal accusation come to mind.

Not everyone is an idiot (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | about 3 years ago | (#35814980)

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"

Re:Not everyone is an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815210)

He should have been on "World's Dumbest Criminals"

Indeed he may be in the future... Interesting proposal.

Re:Not everyone is an idiot (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 years ago | (#35815288)

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...

Re:Not everyone is an idiot (3, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 3 years ago | (#35815340)

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.

Re:Not everyone is an idiot (1)

ColdFury (2040946) | about 3 years ago | (#35815526)

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!

Re:Not everyone is an idiot (1)

DZign (200479) | about 3 years ago | (#35815390)

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 like 'try this for 5 days and then buy it if you like it' (don't remember the exact words), so those kiddies thought it was perfectly legal for them to keep illegal software for 5 days, trade it to other people, and then delete it.

Geniuses can be delusional ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815468)

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.

It is not uncommon to see a person who is a "genius" in one area fail because they incorrectly believe they are a "genius" in more than one area.

Re:Not everyone is an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35816330)

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"

He didn't qualify until he went on the first TV show. :-)

iDiOt! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35814920)

He's not a hacker, he's a hack.

If these guys were smart (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 3 years ago | (#35814928)

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

This is what happens (0)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 3 years ago | (#35814932)

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

Re:This is what happens (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815750)

it's funny because he's french

Re:This is what happens (0)

Permutation Citizen (1306083) | about 3 years ago | (#35815868)

Thank you AC for explaining the joke, but actually this is not really funny.

This "french surrender" meme comes from french bashing campaign organized when France refused to help US invade Irak. It is now well known that Irak's WMD were a lie. So please stop repeating the same stupid jokes, thanks.

reminds me of an old radio bit (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 3 years ago | (#35814940)

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"

Re:reminds me of an old radio bit (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 3 years ago | (#35815186)

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"

Sorry lil Timmy, but Santa ain't real!

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/03/09/that-silly-radio-show-listener-calling-in-hes-probably-an-actor/ [time.com]

-AI

Re:reminds me of an old radio bit (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 3 years ago | (#35815348)

What a weird article. Somehow they find a way to impugn several radio hosts by saying they aren't doing the shady thing the article is about...

Meh? (2)

Securityemo (1407943) | about 3 years ago | (#35814942)

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.

Re:Meh? (4, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#35814968)

From the article, it sounds like there was already an investigation in process. His admission of guilt on TV was just an extra nail in the coffin that may have convinced the cops to move in earlier, but this guy was going down either way.

Re:Meh? (4, Informative)

Alarash (746254) | about 3 years ago | (#35815062)

I live in France so we have a little more details. He got caught because one of his username on some website in the background wasn't properly/entirely blurred by the TV journalists. Following that lead, the investigators caught him. Oops!

Re:Meh? (1)

David Off (101038) | about 3 years ago | (#35815416)

The blurring is always poorly done on French TV programs. They had a program about men who visit prostitutes and I recognized a work colleague being interviewed. The blurring didn't follow his head very well so you could see parts of his face, only the eyes were really covered.

Re:Meh? (1)

phillips321 (955784) | about 3 years ago | (#35815510)

WAIT... before you do anything just think of the possibilities.....

If this is your boss then surely blackmail is the way forward! (unless he's a cool boss = congratulate him and join him next time)

Correlation isn't causation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35814960)

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.

or in hacker parlance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35814962)

He fell victim to social engineering.

Re:or in hacker parlance (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 3 years ago | (#35816230)

He fell victim to social engineering.

This attack is called 'Ego Entrapment', where the victim's ego causes his head to swell beyond the coverage supplied by his tin foil hat, allowing exposure not sufficiently protected by his prerequisite paranoia.

Revenge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35814978)

Instead of arresting him, the Thales people should have appeared on the next episode and shown how easy they could gain access to and violate his sister/mother.

Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (5, Insightful)

Ozan (176854) | about 3 years ago | (#35815006)

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.

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815134)

Sensible. Good for any person regardless of criminal intent. Sins of excess are considered especially bad for a reason. I will cut and paste this list for a personal reminder of such.

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#35815278)

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?

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35817506)

The security system needs to involve active retribution before the criminal gets a negative behavioral reinforcement.

And hey, this time it did! Granted, only after the moron bragged about it on teevee...

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (3, Funny)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about 3 years ago | (#35815282)

If being a criminal is going to be that boring I thnk I will stick to my day job!

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815466)

You don't need to stay away from Cardinal Sin.

He's dead and can't bother you

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4113474.stm

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815596)

+1

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (1)

Inda (580031) | about 3 years ago | (#35815906)

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.

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#35816454)

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.

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about 3 years ago | (#35816088)

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 commit one of them, because you're already handed over to them.

This French hacker looks like he succombed to Pride.

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 years ago | (#35816746)

Of course the problem is that most criminals are criminals because they indulge in one or more of those sins.

Re:Vanity, definitely my favorite sin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35816978)

or become a politician, that list is your job description.

Encrypt and show them the middle finger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815010)

When will people learn to encrypt their drives if they are doing shady things?

Encypt and show the cops the middle finger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815172)

Have people not yet understood to encrypt their drives if they are doing shady things? TrueCrypt and a reasonable password is enough to keep even FBI from peeping around (refer to Daniel Dantas/Operation Satyagraha case).

Re:Encypt and show the cops the middle finger (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 3 years ago | (#35815544)

France is particularly draconian about encryption. I'm not sure what their exact legal situation is.. in the UK you can be jailed for not giving up your encryption keys on demand, so you have to weigh up the sentence for that versus what you'd get for the crimes they'd convict you for if you did.

It appears that anything above 40-bit keys is illegal [tc-forum.org] in France unless you use key escrow.

Wrong title (1)

AlexEdge (2036162) | about 3 years ago | (#35815330)

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.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815350)

... welcome our new TV watching overlords!

a bit weird (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815368)

it is sounds a bit weird..
  to http://www.AnyINcn.com ,
you can buy the best quality and reasonable prices goods.

His Downfall was the TV producers. (3, Informative)

AftanGustur (7715) | about 3 years ago | (#35815562)

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.

Re:His Downfall was the TV producers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815600)

His downfall was actually a mistake by the production team.

trust no-one

Re:His Downfall was the TV producers. (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 3 years ago | (#35815616)

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.

Re:His Downfall was the TV producers. (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 3 years ago | (#35816048)

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.

Re:His Downfall was the TV producers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815772)

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.

http://www.banned.in

Re:His Downfall was the TV producers. (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 3 years ago | (#35816098)

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

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

manufacturer of medical-x-ray machine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815730)

As is known to all, digital radiography [medical-x-ray.com] represents the largest medical imaging technology in the past 10 years, which is widely used in medical fields. Guangzhou Yueshen Import and Export Company follows the era’s need and provides the advanced digital radiography system [medical-x-ray.com] to meet international standard. After 10 years development, the company has become one the world's leading medical x-ray machine [medical-x-ray.com] exporters with advanced medical x-ray [medical-x-ray.com] technology to meet customer needs.

Smart people do dumb things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815790)

I've seen a lot of that.

Re:Smart people do dumb things... (1)

dfuess (72488) | about 3 years ago | (#35817666)

A well analysed phenomenon. Check

http://www.magazine.utoronto.ca/feature/why-people-are-irrational-kurt-kleiner/

for example

What is to be learned? (1)

drolli (522659) | about 3 years ago | (#35815962)

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

Think of it as evolution in action (1)

ssj152 (803281) | about 3 years ago | (#35816170)

Stupid git! The title says it all. The quote is from Oath of Fealty by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle.

Social Engineering works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35816424)

Social engineering is usually the best form of cracking a system. The corollary of this that it's also an effective way of catching crackers, as we see here.

Thales? (1)

Old Sparky (675061) | about 3 years ago | (#35816798)

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...

French firewall? (0)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 3 years ago | (#35817002)

Sounds like French firewalls are about as affective as the French military.

Re:French firewall? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35817404)

FINALLY

Had to scroll down this far to see this. What is up, people? Are we collectively forgetting the one most important French specialty?

Thank you. I almost gave up.

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