Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

9/18/2008
09:45 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Palin's 'Hacker' Tells How He Did It

Hacker claiming to have broken into Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account reportedly used low-tech research and a little social engineering

So how did someone manage to hack “Sarah Barracuda’s” email account?

Word got out late yesterday that Republican vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin’s personal Yahoo mail account ([email protected]) had been hacked, with some screenshots of messages and photos of her family posted on WikiLeaks.org and, later, gawker.com. Just whodunnit remains unclear, but details of just how the hack was executed have been emerging today -- and it was embarrassingly and eerily simple.

Palin’s Yahoo account had been in the limelight this week after reports that she had used her personal email account to conduct official state government business.

Initially, the Anonymous group, best known for its online protests against the Church of Scientology, was pegged with the hack, but the group has since posted a message on its site denying its involvement. The latest word is that it may have been a one-man effort, according to a Wired.com post. The person claiming to have executed the hack said in a post (which has since been removed) on the 4chan bulletin board site that he used Wikipedia to get Palin’s birthdate, her ZIP code, and then Googled for information for her security question -- where she met her husband -- in an effort to trick Yahoo into reassigning her password.

Her password was reportedly changed to “popcorn,” according to the Associated Press report.

Security experts say Yahoo’s “forgot-my-password" service was basically fooled into giving up Palin’s account to the attacker. Once he got enough information to go on and pose as Palin, he could easily grab control of her email account.

“This is much bigger than Web-based email insecurity. This is the inherent danger of the current hype around ‘cloud-based computing.’ There is no cloud, just a lot of fog around the security and privacy vulnerabilities surrounding online data of all kinds. Email, office collaboration, everything," says Randy Abrams, director of technical education for Eset.

“If it is online, it is available 24x7 for an attacker to attempt to access,” Abrams says. “Download and remove messages from the server is what I recommend, if you have anything you don't want to be public.”

Meanwhile, the FBI and Secret Service are investigating the hack. The alleged hacker appeared worried in his post that by hiding behind only a single anonymous proxy service, he could eventually be exposed. Investigators reportedly plan to speak with the operator of that service, who told the AP he plans to turn over any information from his logs that may be helpful to the case.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...