How Sarah Palin's email was hacked, An Important Warning?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Cleverboy, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. Cleverboy macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

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    #1
    So, the topic is partly political, partly social, and entirely disturbing for a number of reasons. PC World just published an article reviewing the story that Sarah Palin, Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican party here in America, got her e-mail account on Yahoo hacked... and specifically, how it was accomplished.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2330699,00.asp
    It's pretty disturbing how quickly social engineering deterents VANISH when you're a high-profile personality. I found this article pretty chilling. It dovetails nicely with:
    Sarah Palin Learns About Password Security the Hard Way
    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/sarah-palin-learns-about-pas...

    Experts Don't Yahoo! Over Palin's E-Mail Practices
    http://www.abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5830813&page=1

    Palin’s hacked email account — what’s next?
    http://features.csmonitor.com/politics/2008/09/18/palins-hacked-email-account-whats-next/

    So, what we know now... is that John McCain doesn't know how to use a computer, and Sarah Palin knows very little about online security. Brrrr.

    ~ CB
     
  2. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #2
    Hope the wedding/honeymoon went well, Cleverboy.

    I may not be addressing the substance of your post, but I find the whole Palin-email-hack thing very interesting. Maybe I am missing something (indeed I may), but it seems that those who justify the hack/publication of the emails do so because she had some - for lack of a better phrase - work-related emails in her personal account.

    That's frightening.

    I look forward to a day when I don't have to periodically use my personal email account to effectuate something important for work. I'm not defending Palin nor lauding her as a person/candidate, but if society creates - either by law or by social conscience - a rule that periodic use of a personal email account for work/governmental purposes entitles the hacking/publication of all of the emails in that account, that is indeed frightening.
     
  3. Ntombi macrumors 68030

    Ntombi

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    #3
    I'm definitely not defending the hacker, but I'll just say to you that, according to several sources, Palin used her personal e-mail to conduct government business specifically because it wouldn't be subject to subpeona, the way her official account would be. And she encouraged her employees to do the same.

    With her sudden unwillingness to cooperate with the bipartisan investigation into her conduct, this has come to a head.

    That's why there's been such an interest in her personal e-mail correspondances.
     
  4. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #4
    There are rules/laws in place for governmental jobs that emails/memos/correspondence be preserved/backed up. Which is why it was such a big deal when the WH was found to be using other email accounts to bypass the automatic archiving of emails for the record.

    If the intent of using these accounts was to bypass governmental record keeping so that the contents of these emails were not part of the public record, or able to be investigated then it should raise serious concerns about what the official was trying to hide.
     
  5. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #5
    Someone should go to jail for this ... such an invasion of privacy. What's next? Her phone conversations, voicemails, or just her regular mail?

    EDIT: And while circumventing the system is wrong, it in NO way justifies this.
     
  6. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #6
    Let's assume that is 100% true - that she attempted to circumvent disclosure laws, etc. There are lawful methods for dealing with that. There are also lawful methods for dealing with failure to obey lawful subpoenas. For example, if Karl Rove fails to obey a lawful subpoena, I will be front row center when the punishment is issued, and hope it will be ... convincing, to say the least.

    I appreciate your comments, but just as some people on the far right are wrong for justifying illegal, vigilante-type punishment in the name of their particular brand of justice, people - whether they be on the right or left - are also wrong to justify illegal hacking/illegal publication in the name of their particular brand of justice.
     
  7. Ntombi macrumors 68030

    Ntombi

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    #7
    um, did you somehow miss the first line I wrote?

    I agree with you on that; I was addressing the other part of the comment.
     
  8. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #8
    I completely agree. However, as I said above, we as citizens need to decide whether we want to rely on methods developed under the law for handling these situations, or we want to rely on a new tech-vigilante style of dealing with this.
     
  9. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #9
    I read the first line, but perhaps I came across too strong. I was addressing the underlying sentiment - perhaps made by others but not you - that there is any justification for the hack/publication.
     
  10. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

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    #10
    She pissed off Anonymous. Don't piss off Anonymous.
     
  11. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #11
    The hacker should face the same penalty he/she would face had he done this to anyone else, I'm not defending his/her actions in any way. Whatever penalties exist for hacking someone else's email account should be pursued for this person.

    I don't think that the hacker deserves any more severe punishment for this than if they had done the same thing to me, but they should be punished.
     
  12. PowerFullMac macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

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    #12
    Ha! Thats funny! :D

    Weird that Anonymous did that, though! Aint they meant to be spreading "anti-Cult of $cientology" stuff?

    Their site says it has nothing to do with the hack, but they probably have many sites...
     

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  13. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #13
    I don't anybody is approving of the methods used or the act of hacking the account. We are just amused on how goofy our politicians are (regardless of their politics). As people who don't like her, we are enjoying yet another evidence of incompetency.

    I mean who would pass on such a great gaffe? :confused: :eek:
     
  14. Cleverboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

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    #14
    Thanks! We're on Cloud9 over here. :)
    I look at this... hackers... like I would a natural disaster. At the end of the day, NO ONE condones a natural disaster, and yet... the preparedness of the governments that deal with the events is something that should receive due scrutiny, without having to reiterate how much we don't condone criminality or the capriciousness of fate. For instance, if Palin's laptop was stolen and it contained a certain amount of data regarding private citizens... we shouldn't be discussing whether we approve of the theft, we should be concerned why this risk was even present for such a high-profile official.

    Like Ntombi said, she was using this account to circumvent subpoenas and conduct government business outside of the control of regulation. At the end of the day, this is what the Bush administration got criticism for.
    To, me... this type of exposure is an extremely important indicator on how GREEN Palin is and how she operates in non-transparent ways. For any candidate, this should rightly be much more embarassing to them, than it is "distasteful" to those discussing it.

    Right now, there's an underground thumping to imply that somehow the hackers originated in Chicago and Limbaugh has called the hackers "Obama thugs". If that's the game that's to be played, I have little sympathy for Palin's unconvincing role as a victim.

    As the subject of this thread says, this should be a warning to anyone who doesn't realize how these things can happen. It's also, in my opinion, a valid window into more political concerns.

    ~ CB
     
  15. PowerFullMac macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

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    #15
    Am I missing something here, what did she do to piss off Anonymous?
     
  16. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #16
    I forgot about that! Congrats again, and what the hell are you doing on MR? :eek: :D

    <back on topic, sorry>

    I am surprised that the hackers have been called dems, or Obama people. Like come on. :rolleyes:
     
  17. jplan2008 macrumors regular

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    #17
    What laws have been broken? They didn't "hack" her account, they guessed her security information that she stupidly made so easy. I haven't kept up in the past several years, so let us know if it's changed, but as far as I know, the government has refused to give the same kind of protection to emails and private Internet sites as to the U.S. mail, or recording phone conversations, for example. And, if someone can get ahold of your private emails, there was previously no law against publishing them. Again, if that's changed over the past several years, let me know. Most general laws of invasion of privacy have to do with invasion by the government, not invasions by some ad-hoc group that calls themselves "anonymous." If they broke laws by publishing private GOVERNMENTAL information, then that goes to show that she IS using the accounts for her work with the government, which is illegal, and the deletion of the accounts is probably obstruction of justice, which I assume is a felony in Alaska, and done AFTER her nomination, making it more than just some quaint Alaskan issue.

    That doesn't mean what the "hackers" did is MORALLY defensible, especially the publishing of photos and email addresses of family members. But it's also not morally defensible (and could also be construed as illegal obstruction of justice) what McCain's campaign has done to block the investigation, and that the Republican state legislature has decided not to subpoena Palin, or let her get out of the subpoena for her emails. One (or more) morally indefensible action doesn't justify another, but we're talking about elected officials, some running for Pres/VP, vs. some group of unknowns that likes to stir stuff up on the Internet. There is no way Obama's campaign was involved in this, or the Democratic Party, not because they're saints, but they wouldn't expose themselves to getting caught, especially on something that makes Palin look like a poor victim.
     
  18. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #18
    Agreed.
     
  19. Cleverboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

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    #19
    I can only wish them luck with tracking down the hacker. I honestly don't know what form of punishment is available for guessing someone's password, and playing around with their e-mails. I think however, that impersonating the governor (if that's what they did when they contacted one of her aides through her account), may well net someone a much steeper penalty than if they impersonated you or I. More than that, I can't see any type of major prosecution. "Identity-theft" is a real stretch.

    I've been the victim of one of these types of things. Many years ago on AOL, in a cocky fit of curiosity, I opened a text file that had been emailed to me (knowing that a text file could not cause me problems). I was on Windows, so... this was a foolish precept. The file proceeded to say that it was "too big" to open in "Notepad" and requested to be opened in "Word Pad" (at which point I should have stopped... but did not). I didn't realize that even avoiding Microsoft Word, that Word Pad enabled embedded files, and an instant of "bad thinking" had me double-click on an embedded image... infecting my machine with a virus that captured my keystrokes and sent my password to someone that proceeded to e-mail an infected file to everyone on my buddy list, pretending to be me. After some bloodhounding, I eventually confronted the hacker online. He was momentarily logged into another account I knew he'd hacked, and we had a chat. I didn't really care about "legal measures" against him... I just considered myself "stupid" and "wiser" for the experience. I asked him however, WHY he'd do this to someone else. He simply said, "Because I can".

    More than trying to "sue" random hackers, I'd personally concentrate on security, and making sure our elected officials don't put government information at risk by avoiding their normal communication methods. This type of incident should have everyone in the governors circle hauled in to a briefing on Internet security. It's a sign of piss-poor judgment in my opinion, even if I'm the one who's guilty of committing it.

    I've also had my websites hacked, and in that case as well... MY OWN FAULT. Lesson: Keep on top of security. This isn't a game anymore. It's serious.

    ~ CB
     
  20. PowerFullMac macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

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    #20
    I agree, Cleverboy.

    With recovery questions that stupid, I am not surprised.

    They will probably not track down the member of Anonymous that done it, the clue is in the name, they know how to keep themselves hidden.
     
  21. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #21
    I've noticed that many sites have preset questions that you cannot change.
     
  22. jplan2008 macrumors regular

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    #22
    In which case, you put the answers in code to yourself, or the opposite, or something that you'll remember but that someone can't guess easily. Spelling your mother's maiden name backwards and using your oldest child's birthdate instead of your own aren't that secure, but 100 times better than her answers. If someone can get into your email account from googling and guessing, that's stupid. I'm sure a lot of Yahoo! users are that stupid, but a Mayor of a town of 8,000 people should know better. Forget about Governor, VP, possibly P?
     
  23. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #23
    True. I always use cryptic answers for those.

    It just goes to show that politicians aren't special, they're just regular people, making the same dumb mistakes everyone else does.
     
  24. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #24
    Is this the McCain/Palin position on wiretapping? Or the Obama position for that matter?
     
  25. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #25
    While I see a connection between what I said and warrantless wiretapping, I fail to see how their position is connected.
     

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