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Obama Twitter hacker avoids jail

Guessed admin passwords

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A French hacker has avoided jail after he was convicted of breaking into the Twittier accounts of US presdent Barack Obama and other public figures and celebrities.

Francois Cousteix (AKA Hacker-Croll), 23, received a five-month suspended sentence after a court in the central French region of Clermont-Ferrand accepted that he meant no harm in breaking into the micro-blogging accounts of Obama and singers Britney Spears and Lily Allen. Lawyers for Cousteix said he was motivated by a desire to warn users of the perils of data insecurity.

Cousteix faced computer hacking charges that might have been punished by up to two years behind bars. "The verdict is satisfying, given all the media pressure that built up," defence lawyer Jean-Francois Canis told AP.

AFP adds that Cousteix broke into the celebrities' accounts after guessing the passwords of Twitter administrators from publicly available information. ®

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