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French Skyper freed after accidentally hacking bank's phone system

C'est le plus merde passcode dans le MONDE. Et l'espace

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A Frenchman has been cleared of wrongdoing after a court accepted he accessed the Bank of France's internal telephone systems by accident.

An unnamed 37-year-old Breton longed to avoid premium-rate calls while using Skype back in 2008, and set about hunting for a cheap-rate gateway number to the public networks.

But he inadvertently dialled a number for the Bank of France's debt service system, which picked up the call but did not identify itself. The bank's back-end computer waited for a valid passcode to be keyed in, and the jobless bloke simply pressed 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, according to his lawyers.

The access triggered an alarm that led to the suspect's arrest two years later and subsequent trial. The Bank of France suspended services for 48 hours as a result of the phone call.

The financial institution's spinners assured AFP that the man was not able to access sensitive data, although according to some reports the trivial passcode was enough to enter the phone system.

The hard-up bloke submitted his home address when registering for voice-chat service Skype, so the length of time leading up to his arrest is puzzling - but it may have something to do with the fact that the Bank of France's loan telephone service is actually in Luxembourg.

Judges sitting in a criminal court of Rennes, northwest France, dismissed the case against the man on Thursday, citing the prosecution team's failure to demonstrate any criminal intent in his actions.

A report by Nouvel Observateur on the case can be found here (in French). ®

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