The billionaire boss of the newspaper Le Monde was a teenage spy who hacked President Mitterrand’s mobile
Billionaire boss of newspaper Le Monde, 52, admits he was a teenage spy who once hacked President Mitterrand’s cell phone for his security bosses
- Xavier Niel, 52, was caught hacking Canal Plus at age 17 after dropping out of education
- The Territorial Supervision Directorate hired him to collect data on Renault
- He also hacked President Mitterrand’s telephone server in 1986
- He left his role as a hacker to run erotic sites on French internet predecessor Minitel
A newspaper magnate who is among the wealthiest 25 people in France has admitted that he was a teenage spy who hacked President Mitterrand’s cell phone.
Xavier Niel, 52, is co-owner of the newspaper Le Monde and the 21st richest person in France with an estimated wealth of € 8 billion.
Niel told the parliamentary channel that he was hired by the Territorial Surveillance Directorate (DST) in the mid-1980s.
The security department of the French Ministry of the Interior called Niel after he was caught hacking the French channel Canal Plus at the age of 17 after he dropped out of education.
52-year-old Xavier Niel (left) has admitted that he worked as a spy for the French Ministry of the Interior as a teenager after he was caught hacking Canal Plus. Pictured: Niel and his wife Delphine Arnault, 45, attend the French Open on June 9, 2019
Niel stopped hacking when he was twenty to run erotic sites on Minitel, France’s predecessor on the internet. Pictured: Niel and his wife Delphine Arnault attend the state visit of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Grande-Duchesse Maria Teresa of Luxembourg on March 19, 2018
He said, “I wasn’t in the secret service. I was a kind of part-time correspondent who regularly told them what we found, what we saw in our hacking world. ‘
The security agency wanted Niel to set up a group of hackers consisting of other smart young people who could help them explain the world of cyber security at a time when the technology was still brand new.
In 1986, the mobile phone of President Mitterrand was even hacked.
President Mitterrand’s government was later caught in a telephone hacking scandal called the “French Watergate,” where he had the phones of hundreds of French personalities tapped.
Niel was also given the task of hacking car manufacturer Renault. His group found that the company was hacked by people from Australia downloading large amounts of data.
But for Niel it was all just a bit of fun.
“We all did this to ourselves as a game and we would pass on the information,” he said. “It was just fun. It was exciting to get around the system. They told us it was impossible. ‘
Niel did not say how the information he collected was used by daylight savings time.
Niel even hacked the mobile phone of French President Mitterrand (photo) and car manufacturer Renault. Pictured: President Mitterrand (center) opens the Channel Tunnel in 1994 next to Queen Elizabeth II
At the age of 20, Niel quit hacking and started running erotic sites on the French predecessor of the internet, Minitel.
Niel said he wanted to share details about his hacker teens “as an example for today’s kids to show you how to do crazy things and get right.”
He also spent part of his fortune helping young people to start their careers.
In 2013, he spent £ 41 million at a free coding school in Paris and nearly £ 250 million at Station F, the world’s largest start-up lab with 1,000 start-ups.