Feeds

Lads from Lagos crack cabinet minister's webmail account

Person in peril scam follows mystery Hotmail hack

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Advanced fee fraudsters have broken into the webmail account of UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw to mount an audacious, and potentially politically embarrassing, scam.

Hundreds of Straw's contacts received a bogus (and frankly implausible) message on Thursday claiming the cabinet minister was stranded in Nigeria and in desperate need of $3,000 dollars to settle expenses get a flight home. Constituents, Ministry of Justice officials, Labour members and council bosses all received the bogus assistance pleas, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The email, sent from a Hotmail account, claimed Straw was in Nigeria promoting a charity called Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, and was supposedly in trouble after losing his wallet. One constituent reportedly replied to the bogus email, but no money was offered.

The Hotmail account used in the attack was later suspended but Straw's official website still lists blackburnlabour@hotmail.com as an email contact address for those interested in reaching the Blackburn MP.

It's unclear how miscreants broke into the account but the use of a brute force dictionary attack to uncover the password is one possibility. Trickery that allowed the password to be reset, as in the hack on a Yahoo! webmail account maintained by Sarah Palin, is another possibility. Fraudsters have hacked into Hotmail accounts to punt similar person in peril scams in the past but rarely have they picked on such a conspicuous target.

Straw confirmed the attack but said that the webmail account attacked was only used for constituency business and unrelated to his work in government.

"It was an issue for constituents, not the Government. We are checking all that and I am assured there's no evidence that confidentiality of constituents was affected," the former Home Secretary told The Telegraph. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
SMASH the Bash bug! Red Hat, Apple scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Desperate VXers enslave FREEZERS in DDoS bot
Updated Spike malware targets Asia
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.