Memo to US Secret Service: Net proxy may pinpoint Palin email hackers
Not quite Anonymous
Updated Memo to law enforcement investigators tracking down who broke into Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account: Gabriel Ramuglia might be a good place to start.
The 25-year-old webmaster and entrepreneur is the operator of Ctunnel.com, the browsing proxy service used by the group that hacked into the vice presidential candidate's personal email account and exposed its contents to the world. While he has yet to examine his logs, he says there's a good chance they will lead to those responsible, thanks to some carelessness on their part.
"Usually, this sort of thing would be hard to track down because it's Yahoo email, and a lot of people use my service for that," he told El Reg in a phone interview. "Since they were dumb enough to post a full screenshot that showed most of the [Ctunnel.com] URL, I should be able to find that in my log."
Ramuglia got into the proxy business a few years ago, after schools began blocking access to an online game site he used to co-own. Pretty soon, people began using the proxy service to access YouTube, Gmail, MySpace, and dozens of other sites that are routinely blocked by IT departments.
To prevent abuse of the service - such as the occasional bomb threat or other illegal act that's been known to happen - Ramuglia logs each user's IP address, along with the time and web destination. That often isn't enough to track down people who access extremely popular websites. But in this case, the perpetrators included a whole string of random-looking characters when posting screenshots of Palin's hacked account. That will probably be enough for him to pinpoint the proverbial needle in the haystack.
The information at the moment is on a server at a Chicago colocation site owned by FDC Servers. Logs are automatically flushed after seven days, so the clock is ticking for law enforcement, who presumably are under intense pressure to protect the privacy of a candidate for the White House. Of course, there's always the possibility that Ctunnel.com was only one of multiple anonymization services the email hackers used to cover their tracks, but there's only one way to find out.
Ramuglia said if he is contacted by law enforcement officials he will probably give them the information they seek. At time of writing, he's received no inquiries from any law enforcement agencies, he said.
The breach of Palin's account "is pretty clearly against my terms of service," he said. "As exciting as it is to be in the news, this is not the type of activity I can encourage by any means."
Within hours of this story posting, Ramuglia received a phone call from an FBI special agent from the Anchorage, Alaska, field office.
"He just wanted to make sure I wasn't losing the logs," Ramuglia said, referring to the special agent. The two are scheduled to speak again soon to coordinate the turning over the logged information.
What's more, Wired.com has a story here detailing a now-removed post to the 4chan website in which a person claiming to the hacker who accessed Palin's email "used only a single proxy service to hide his IP address." Oops. ®
False premises render argument irrelevant
>All sides of the political spectrum realize that this is a necessity, which is why Congress authorized it in the first place.
Utter crock of shit, and you know it. Opposition to the entire set of principles the Patriot Act is founded on is widespread. Only within Republicrat and corporate circles is the wholesale abandonment of the Constitution seen as desirable.
>If you want to catch someone doing something illegal, you can't break the law in obtaining that information or evidence or it will be thrown out in court. Its plain and simple.
It's also wrong. It was called "fruits of the poisonous tree" doctrine, and it was once good United States law, but it is pretty much completely not law any more. Case law has turned against it in the large majority of instances, and there is also a large tendency to simply not take any notice whatsoever of the legality of evidence collection. It is mostly honored in the breach by passing new laws authorizing wholesale surveillance and data-gathering without supervision, restriction, or obligation to otherwise obey laws.
In general, Palin's abuse of Yahoo mail seems a bigger, more important story than the one about the stupid hacker who didn't know what he had discovered.
Well, may be, the curious thing is that you can access the site using TOR just fine.
Makes me wonder if there might be any other reasons.
What the Hacker should have done...
First thing I'd do (if i did that sort of stuff), would be to send out an email to the "work" email addresses (and a few newspaper addresses just for good measure) saying something like:
"I've decided to quit the VP ticket and back Obama/Biden for '08,"
(or something along those lines...) ;)
The sit back and watch as the G.O.P. disintegrates before they realise about the hack :D:D