Feeds

Congressional aide fired after trying to hire hackers

D’oh

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

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." ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.