February 8, 2013

Hacker gains access to Bush family emails, photos

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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President George W. Bush walks with his father, former President George H.W. Bush in this 2008 photo. A criminal investigation is under way after a hacker apparently accessed private photos and emails sent between members of the Bush family, including both former presidents.

AP

On the Smoking Gun site, the word "Guccifer" was plastered across the photos in translucent, neon blue print. The site said "Guccifer" is a self-described veteran hacker who has long been in the government's sights.

Whoever targeted the Bush family was probably not a "high-tech nation-state adversary," Wallach said. "If it were, you wouldn't see their tracks. ... It's probably somebody who thought they could make a quick buck."

Unlike the email scams known as phishing that attempt to fool users into giving up bank account information and passwords, more sophisticated attempts called spear-phishing go after specific individuals or institutions, Wallach said.

According to the FBI, spear-phishing sends legitimate-looking emails that offer plausible explanations for requesting personal data, along with a link. Clicking on the link can download malware that gives the hacker access to things like address lists.

"It's hard to know what kind of miscreant we're dealing with here," Moore said. "It could be someone trying to seek attention to show they can do it. You target a political figure, you're trying to show, 'Nobody is above what we can do.'"

Guccifer could be outside the U.S., making things more complicated for authorities in pursuit, Moore said.

"Of all the famous people to pick on," he added. "I wouldn't pick on someone who has an entire law enforcement branch dedicated to protecting them."

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