The Public Eye with Eric Chabrow

Doggonit! Romney's E-mail Possibly Hacked

Hacker Apparently Guessed Right at Security Question
Doggonit! Romney's E-mail Possibly Hacked

An unnamed hacker claims to have cracked Mitt Romney's personal Hotmail account by correctly answering the security question: "What is your favorite pet?" That's according to a tipster who alerted the website Gawker.

See Also: Webinar | Passwords: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow? Be Careful What You Wish For.

The answer wasn't provided by Gawker, but a lot of news coverage has been given to the story of the Republican presumptive presidential candidate strapping his dog Seamus to the roof of his car on a family vacation.

Too often people provide answers to security questions that can be discovered by Internet searches or, in Romney's case, by following the news. 

Gawker alerted the Romney campaign, which issued a statement: "The proper authorities are investigating this crime and we will have no further comment on it."

The e-mail account, mittromney@hotmail.com, was made public in a Wall Street Journal report published this week, which obtained e-mails about behind-the-scene endeavors by Romney and his aides to pass a state healthcare bill when he was governor of Massachusetts. The Associated Press reported earlier this year that the Hotmail account appeared operational as recently as March.

What this incident shows - whether true or not - is that employing security questions that can be guessed easily doesn't provide proper authentication. Too often people provide answers to security questions that can be discovered by Internet searches or, in Romney's case, by following the news.



About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.




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