Feeds

Congressional aide fired after trying to hire hackers

D’oh

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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 Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.