Leftist MEP’s Twitter Hacking Ordeal Drags On in Brussels Court ━ The European Conservative | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

A disgruntled parliamentary assistant working for an Irish socialist MEP has pleaded guilty to falsely impersonating his boss online after using his official Twitter account to search for naked pictures of a female colleague.

Diarmuid Hayes—a 34-year-old filmmaker and former assistant to Left Group MEP Luke Ming Flanagan—potentially faces a year in prison if convicted of data violation and maliciously accessing the politician’s personal Twitter in September 2020.

During a sitting of a criminal court at Brussels’ Palais de Justice Wednesday morning, Hayes pleaded guilty to hacking Flanagan’s account to look for ‘skinny dipping’ pictures of a female colleague and fellow left-wing activist Saoirse McHugh in what is believed to have been an elaborate revenge plot against the MEP for not renewing his contract. A former Green Party candidate, McHugh was described previously as swimming naked in a now-amended article published—originally with a photo—in the U.K. Guardian.

The tweet in question was posted shortly before 3 a.m. on a Monday morning and prompted a social media maelstrom against the married socialist politician, who has repeatedly maintained his innocence. 

Belgian public prosecutors called for a year-long sentence against Mr. Hayes, who had previously appeared at a sitting of the Brussels court in September, where he was publicly named.

In a subsequent statement, Flanagan described how “I am going to pay a price for this forever,” referencing the impact the debacle has had on his daughters. The independent socialist MEP had previously attracted international media attention for appearing without his trousers during a live session of the European Parliament and publicly showing off his growing and use of marijuana.

Speaking during his court appearance on Wednesday, Hayes described his actions as an “impulsive joke,” with DG-SAFE—the European Parliament’s internal security force— launching an internal investigation in the aftermath of the hacking incident.

Hayes was employed in the EU Parliament until 2019 by Flanagan, adding that he “wasn’t treated quite well in the last months” and that a failure to renew his contract prompted the prank against his former political master. 

The court also learned that Hayes kept access to Flanagan’s Twitter account through the posting app ‘Twittercaster’ despite the password being changed.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled to be held on March 25th.

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