Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palin Email Hack (Updated)

UPDATES BELOW including possible hacker identity


The big new thing in the right wing news is the story that came out yesterday about how hackers had hacked Sarah Palin's personal Yahoo Mail account. As soon as this came out I just knew that some of the usual wingnuts would immediately blame the left no matter what the evidence or lack thereof might show.

Of course the reality isn't so sinister and it looks at least initially like those guilty are nothing more than a few anonymous hackers who take pleasure in hacking without any discrimination based on politics (Update: not so fast, see updates below) and further evidence seems to point that they aren't even the brightest bulbs in the hacking community to boot.
You see, it appears that the hacker(s) used the proxy Ctunnel.com to access the account. Smart move, using a proxy! What was less smart was including the entire address in your screenshots, as that kind of defeats the purpose of using a proxy. Says Ctunnel.com owner Gabriel Ramuglia:
Usually, this sort of thing would be hard to track down because it’s Yahoo email, and a lot of people use my service for that. Since they were dumb enough to post a full screen shot that showed most of the [Ctunnel.com] URL, I should be able to find that in my log.

Oops! If the hacker in question wasn't doing his work from an internet café or using a second anonymizing service, it shouldn't be tough to track them down. And since this was definitely a federal offense, anonymous might be getting a little less anonymous in the not-too-distant future.

What this does do is call into question her decision to use that same Yahoo account for government business. Not only are there possible legal issues revolving around using the account to hide certain communications, the security issues are now plainly obvious.

Then again, considering the Bush Administration's issues with archiving their email correspondences, maybe Yahoo isn't such a bad option afterall...

UPDATE: Was the hacker actually looking to derail Palin? An unsubstantiated first person account suggests that maybe the case.

UPDATE 2 4:30 PM: Reports are now surfacing that the hacker might be the 20 year old son of Tennessee Democratic Rep. Mike Kernell. Early reports indicate that he has been contacted by federal authorities about the crime.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are allowed as long a you pick a pseudonym and stick with it. Posting under multiple names is not permitted and will result in all comments being deleted.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.