Mitt Romney’s Email Hacked
It seems like no one is outside the scope of a hack attack. As the political world is heating with this year’s upcoming election, some of the candidates may find themselves in technological peril. At this time, the news has hit the stands that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have been the victim of an email hacking.
The authorities are currently investigating the possibility that Romney’s email account was hacked and will deliver information as it becomes available to them. The hacking was first reported this past Tuesday.
According to the Gawker, an online news company, an anonymous hacker was able to gain access to Romney’s email account and successfully log in. Gawker reported that the hacker was able to guess the answer to Romney’s personal security question and change the password to the email account. The hacker remains anonymous, and even told Gawker that Romney’s account with DropBox, a file sharing service, also was compromised.
Representatives from Romney’s campaign released a comment that stated the “proper authorities are investigating this crime.’’ Gail Gitcho, the spokeswoman for Romney’s campaign, declined to give any further comment and would not say who was investigating the incident. She also did not say whether or not Romney still uses the hotmail account.
Romney is not the first politician to have to deal with security problems and hack attacks in his personal life. Just a few weeks before the presidential election in 2008, a Tennessee college student was able to access the emails of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. The student, David Kernell, was convicted in April 2010 after Palin and her daughter Bristol testified about harassment and disruption they suffered. Kernell had correctly guessed answers to security questions guarding Palin’s account, giving him access.
Romney’s private Hotmail account was accepting email as recently as March 2012. As of Tuesday evening, the address was returning emails as undeliverable, citing an “unknown address.’’
Romney’s private email address, email@example.com, was included in documents obtained and published earlier this year by The Associated Press. It was also included in documents attached to a Tuesday Wall Street Journal story. The address became public because Romney used it to conduct state business when he served as governor of Massachusetts, and some of his private emails were obtained under the Massachusetts Public Records Law.
Romney has used both a Hotmail account and an email account linked to his mittromney.com presidential campaign website. In August 2006, Romney told a group of recipients that all future emails were to be directed to the mittromney.com campaign account.
Romney wrote that, effective immediately, the new account would be his new email address. “Please keep it confidential as its use is for family and close friends,’’ he wrote. “I will no longer be using my Hotmail account.’’
One month later, Romney again used the Hotmail address to email revisions of an editorial he was writing.
In March, the AP sent emails to each of Romney’s private accounts. Both appeared to be operative at that time, but he did not reply. A Microsoft spokeswoman said Hotmail accounts are closed after 270 days of inactivity and incoming emails sent afterward are rejected as undeliverable. Neither of Romney’s accounts bounced messages back to the AP in March.
An email sent to his private Hotmail account Tuesday bounced back as undeliverable.