• United States



Sarah Palin hackers hit the wrong Yahoo account

Sep 17, 20083 mins
Data and Information Security

Last week the Washington Post reported that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin routinely does Alaska government business using a private Yahoo e-mail address.

So today, when I read that the hacking group Anonymous had broken into Palin’s Yahoo account and posted their findings on Wikileaks it seemed like a prelude to some sort of major disclosure on the inner-workings of Alaska government and the real Sarah Palin.

Only it wasn’t. Instead of the straight scoop on the Bridge to Nowhere, we got things like a note from a political appointee in need of some praying.

Not exactly Watergate material here.

It was odd, too that there were so few messages in the account… just a handful per day. You’d expect that a Governor’s address would fill up with email, especially after it was printed in the Washington Post.

Then I noticed the problem. The address that the Post says the governor used for state business is DIFFERENT from the one hacked by Anonymous.

The address mentioned last week in the Post is:

The one hacked is

I don’t see any public mention of this address in news stories before today.

Both accounts were out of use, bouncing back messages on Wednesday.

The McCain campaign has confirmed that Palin’s account was hacked, so either the Washington Post reported the wrong account, or (more likely) Governor Palin used two Yahoo accounts. And apparently the one she reportedly used for doing state business was not compromised.

As an added twist, Amy McCorkell, the woman who wrote the note about prayer, contradicted the McCain campaign when I called her this morning for a comment on the hack. “It’ all a big sham; it’s all not true,” she said before hanging up on me. That comment also contradicted an earlier comment she made to Wired News.

As with everything Anonymous touches, this is a strange one.

*** UPDATE ***

Here’s a comment from Anonymous, sent by a (no doubt reliable) Sgt. Banana. Not sure I believe the brute force thing. It seems pretty easy to password reset the account of a public figure.

I can safely say that a brute forcing program or dictionary attack program was used to crack the password, which was posted on a few puppet websites hosted by anonymous for members. Either way, the e-mail was no doubt closed down after the attack went public. The guys responsible didn’t find anything special, otherwise it would be the talk of [Anonymous discussion groups] at the moment. I’m sure that Palin’s e-mail won’t be the last one Anonymous attacks…

Hope this helps,

Sgt. Banana