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Federal judge locks up alleged NullCrew hacker

A federal judge in Chicago ordered an alleged Tennessee hacker accused of targeting schools and big businesses taken into custody Wednesday while he awaits trial.

The FBI arrested Timothy French nearly a year ago in his hometown of Morristown, Tennessee, and accused him of being a key member of the hacker collective “NullCrew.” He’s been free on bond since last summer, records show.

But Wednesday, French appeared before an exasperated U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin to answer to alleged repeat violations of that bond including allegations of drug use, skipping drug tests and missing counseling appointments.

“It’s getting to be a real joke,” Martin said. “I don’t take you seriously anymore, Mr. French.”

The judge ordered French taken into custody based on the allegations that French used drugs and didn’t seek treatment. The judge did so after French’s attorney, Candace Jackson, said French is “entirely suicidal.” Martin said he’d try to have French placed on suicide watch at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

“Doesn’t mean you’re a bad guy, Mr. French,” Martin told him later. “Means you’re gonna slow down for a while.”

Like “Anonymous” and “LulzSec” — hacker groups previously targeted by the feds — the NullCrew group French is alleged to have joined has tried to publicly embarrass targets for political reasons. It boasted of wanting to “f— the system” and in 2012 claimed credit for hacking the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense.

Though French is not charged with that attack, he is accused of conspiring with others to take 12,000 customer usernames and passwords from Canadian Bell and post them online. He allegedly used the online handles “Orbit,” “@Orbit,” “@Orbit_g1rl,” “crysis,” “rootcrysis” and “c0rps3.”