Feeds

Congressional aide fired after trying to hire hackers

D’oh

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The press attaché of a Montana Congressman has been left red faced after "hackers" he was trying to hire to change his lowly college grades published his email exchanges instead.

Todd Shriber, 28, a press officer for US Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, was looking to persuade hackers to break into the systems of Texas Christian University and change his grades. The motive for his illegal actions was apparently to bolster his academic credentials ahead of a possible run for office.

But Shriber hit on the wrong target for his pleas when he contacted security site attrition.org in early August. Instead of entering negotiations with hackers-for-hire he entered into an exchange of emails with security experts "Lyger" and "Jericho" (AKA "Security Curmudgeon").

Despite being warned that what he proposed was a criminal offence Shriber continued with the plan, little realizing he was been taken for a ride. The 22 email exchange culminated in late August with claims by Lyger that the hack that never was had been detected, who advised Shriber to "duck and run if you can". The exchange was published in September.

But it wasn't until last week that it emerged a would-be political candidate had instigated the attack. Confronted by evidence of the assault, Shriber eventually fessed up to Networkworld. "I did something that's greatly out of character for me and it's a mistake that I regret."

Asked why he dreamt up the scheme in the first place, Shriber said "I just got a little too far ahead of myself thinking about things down the road." His school grades were mediocre, he conceded.

Shriber claimed he was beginning to have second thoughts about the hack, although there's no evidence of this in the email exchanges published by attrition.org.

"A solicitation was made but no action was performed. These are people misrepresenting themselves for a laugh."

Scriber's boss failed to see a funny side to his extra-curricular activities and he was fired last Thursday (21 December).

The perpetrators of the sting have little sympathy for their victim, who they point out was attempting to solicit a criminal offence. "You'll notice that we even intentionally redacted his Social Security number and date of birth in one of the e-mails (on the site)," Lyger told Networkworld. "Pretty ironic that he even sent them since we maintain a data-loss database, Web page, and mailing list." ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.