FCW Insider

Blog archive

FCW Insider: The story behind Palin's e-mail hack

What happened to Sarah Palin could happen to you.


That is the basic message in an AppScout article that explains how a hacker apparently broke into the Yahoo e-mail account of the vice presidential candidate (and Alaskan governor).


The short version is that the hacker took advantage of the Yahoo password recovery function. Most such systems require users to answer personal questions before providing them with their "forgotten" password. In this case, the perpetrator needed less than an hour to find the answers, thanks I large part to Wikipedia.


"Breaking into Sarah Palin's webmail account was a simple hack--one that required little to no technical expertise," AppScout states. "There is, of course, an important lesson to be learned here for the vice presidential candidate, and hopefully the rest of us can take something away from this as well."


The article provides more technical detail, for those who are so inclined.


Also, a reader commenting on the story offers one tip: When setting up the recovery function, do not provide real answers to the questions. Instead, use nonsense words.

Posted by John Stein Monroe on Sep 19, 2008 at 12:17 PM


Featured

  • IT Modernization
    Eisenhower Executive Office Building (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

    OMB's user guide to the MGT Act

    The Office of Management and Budget is working on a rules-of-the-road document to cover how agencies can seek and use funds under the MGT Act.

  • global network (Pushish Images/Shutterstock.com)

    As others see us -- a few surprises

    A recent dinner with civil servants from Asia delivered some interesting insights, Steve Kelman writes.

  • FCW Perspectives
    cloud (Singkham/Shutterstock.com)

    A smarter approach to cloud

    Advances in cloud technology are shifting the focus toward choosing the right tool for the job and crafting solutions that truly modernize systems.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.