Thursday, September 18, 2008


Sarah Palin’s emails hacked, better check your own security

by Larry Geller

Sarah Palin’s Yahoo emails have been hacked using readily available information and simple guesses about her. Now her personal stuff, for example, this picture, has been circulating on the Web. Several of the sites carrying some of the emails and a couple of Palin’s family pictures are slow today as people pounce on them to get their own copies. For example:


I can’t really tell if that is her (or is it a younger person? Her daughter?), but the picture has been posted along with a few of her emails (click thumbnail for link). The picture could, of course, be photoshopped. Or it could be genuine.

Now’s the time to check your own email security. Here’s an article on precisely how it was done. Could someone do the same for your account?

Another story on how it was done is here. With all this discussion of how to hack email accounts circulating, you better check your email security!! And check also your online bank account access. Can someone guess your access information?

This forum post points to screenshots of some of the mail (including larger of the above pic) and has some related links. An alternate source of some of the screenshots is here. A Wired story includes more info about and from the hacker.

This Washington Post story has background on the larger controversy regarding use of Palin’s Yahoo accounts:

The episode focuses attention on Palin's use of her personal e-mail account as lawmakers in Alaska look into whether she fired the state's public safety commissioner, Walter Monegan, because he refused to take action against her brother-in-law, a state trooper at the time.

Palin has been criticized in recent days for using a personal e-mail account to conduct state business. An Alaska activist has filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking disclosure of e-mails from another Yahoo account Palin used,
. . .
Andrée McLeod, who filed the FOIA request, said yesterday evening that Palin should have known better than to conduct state business using an unsecured e-mail account.

"If this woman is so careless as to conduct state business on a private e-mail account that has been hacked into, what in the world is she going to do when she has access to information that is vital to our national security interests?" she asked.

McLeod's Anchorage attorney, Donald C. Mitchell, said Palin declined to comply with a public records request in June to divulge 1,100 e-mails sent to and from her personal accounts, citing executive privilege.

Well, the two Yahoo accounts may now have been deleted, which would be interesting, since they are the subject of investigation. Are the emails still there, or have they been disappeared? Will investigators have to get copies from the hackers?

There is more on Wikileaks, including this article from Time (dated Thursday September 17, 2008).


Great links Larry- one thing I noticed is that
1) some of the emails were official government business and
2) they were deleted allegedly by Palin.

That would make her guilty of destroying evidence of the misconduct of conducting government business outside the purview of Alaska’s sunshine and open records laws.

Yes, that's the controversy. You've got it.

I don't know if emails are preserved if a Yahoo account is closed. Maybe she or someone just renamed it. If they closed the account the emails are very likely destroyed.

I think yahoo may be especially vulnerable. A friend's ex-girlfriend hacked into his account by knowing his dog's name, then she sent emails that offered proof of his infidelities to the women involved. Makes you wonder what, if anything, is private anymore.

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