Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/08/us_politico_email_scam/

Hackers pose as senator in email fraud bid

Stranded in bonnie Scotland

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 8th July 2010 13:32 GMT

Update: This story originally said that hackers had attempted to scam a US Senator. The target was actually an Iowa state senator.

Fraudsters attempted to scam a state senator's contacts after breaking into his webmail account.

Contacts of Bob Dvorsky, an Iowa state senator, received a message from his Yahoo account claiming that the lawmaker was stranded in Scotland and in urgent need of financial help. The scam message claimed that Dvorsky needed £10,000 to pay hotel bills and, even more unlikely, was out of access by phone. The full text of the email can be seen in a blog post by Sophos here.

Marks were invited to wire over money which would be collected by the hackers who broke into Dvorsky's Yahoo! email account. The senator told local news channel KCRG TV News that his Yahoo account was compromised as the result of a phishing scam.

Dvorsky is far from the first politician to be publicly embarrassed by email security problems. Hackers mounted an almost identical scam after breaking into the webmail account of former UK cabinet minister Jack Straw. The fraudsters, posing as Straw, claimed he'd lost his wallet during a trip to Nigeria. Most famously, the Yahoo account of Republican politician Sarah Palin was hacked into as the result of poor password reminder choices during the US presidential elections two years ago. ®