The FBI and Secret Service have launched a Special Investigation into the important matter of some “hacker” breaking into Sarah Palin’s Yahoo! e-mail and taking a few benign screen shots. Michelle Malkin, Bill O’Reilly et al. have been lambasting our friends at Gawker for posting the screen shots; O’Reilly even said that Gawker owner Nick Denton should be thrown in jail forever. (Maybe? But not for this.) In the meantime, the supposed hacker has released an account of his complicated crime. We should warn you that only advanced computer science-trained minds will be able to understand this, but here goes: the hacker correctly guessed Palin’s simple “Forgot Your Password?” question. Crafty!

Yes, that’s right, the hacker was only able to pull off the break-in by possessing two things unavailable to all other humans: a knowledge that the Internet exists, and 25 minutes of free time. Try to follow along:

Details of this week’s break-in, if authentic, were consistent with speculation by computer security experts who said Yahoo’s “forgot-my-password” service almost certainly was exploited. The mechanism allows customers to retrieve or change their password if they can verify their identity by confirming personal information such as birthdate, zip code and the answer to a “secret question,” such as a childhood pet’s name or school mascot.

Palin’s hacker was challenged to guess where Alaska’s governor met her husband, Todd. Palin herself recounted in her speech at the Republican National Convention that the pair began dating two decades ago in high school in Wasilla, a town near Anchorage.

“I found out later though (sic) more research that they met at high school, so I did variations of that, high, high school, eventually hit on ‘Wasilla high’,” the person wrote.

Ah yes, what those “computer security experts” refer to as the “Change Your Password Scheme,” an advanced ploy first used by an arch Russian hacker in 1998 — legend tells that he wanted to get into his girlfriend’s Hotmail to see if she was saying nasty stuff about him behind his back, to her friends.

And she was.

And now this.

“Wasilla high” was the answer to the secret question — where she met her high school sweetheart husband — for her free online e-mail service on which she conducts official state business.

Hacker impersonated Palin, stole e-mail password [AP]
[Does this really qualify as an “impersonation,” AP? — Ed.]

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  1. And this is the person that the Republicans want to put one heartbeat away from the NUCLEAR LAUNCH CODES!

    I find the Walnuts/Caribou Barbie campaign’s outrage over this to be both amusing and hypocritical. So Barbie’s e-mail got hacked–welcome to the 21st Century! As anyone with a Facebook/MySpace page can tell you: If you want to keep it private, DON’T put it on-line!

  2. This is why I answer this question not with where I met my spouse but with where I met my spouse’s ex-business partner. Just because it’s much harder to guess. No other reason whatsoever.

  3. McCain’s secret question: What is your stance of federal regulation of the nation’s financial institutions?

    “I’m against it! No wait, I’m for it. Oh, but I made this email account in 2003, what did I think back then? I know I voted against it in 1999, but introduced legislation for it in 2005, but then spoke against it in early 2008 and in favor of it today… Oh right! The answer is ‘WALNUTS!'”

  4. i’ve found that just looking over someone’s shoulder while they’re typing in their password is quite effective. palin would just think i was looking down her dress which i might be doing also.

  5. [re=101129]CivicHoliday[/re]: Shit, I have to change the combination on my luggage…

    On the other hand, how is this development a good thing? Doesn’t it just gave Yahoo an excuse to destroy important evidence against Palin in the whole Troopergate fiasco? At the very least, doesn’t it taint (if you will) that evidence in the eyes of the investigation?

    I feel a free pass coming Governor Palin’s way soon.

  6. the hacker correctly guessed Palin’s simple “Forgot Your Password?” question.
    …and that is why, no matter how massive the faux-outrage over the “breach” of Palin’s free email account, this is hysterically funny. You cannot convince me otherwise.

  7. [re=101136]Godot[/re]: No, my friend. You have forgotten that super-patriot Walnuts does not use a computer, because they are godless, Communistic instruments of the Devil! He’s also too damn senile to figure out how to turn on a computer!

  8. So Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons sits around all day to get into her Yahoo email account and, really, doesn’t find that much? And Bill O’Reilly wants everyone jailed? Meanwhile, Wall Street continues to melt down, the first debates are in a week and Vice President Whoozits continues to command wars in whatever those countries are according to Angler, a great new book.

  9. What I really love is that they’re all pissed that she got hacked, but really don’t give a shit about letting the government spy on anyone it wants. Republican Governors’ emails are off limits, but all you middle class people are screwed! Why does Gawker hate freedom?

  10. Anyone else think that the “hacker” is really someone in the McCain/Palin camp who supplied the screenshots to prove that there are only “inconsequential” emails being sent to this account, not state business that should be sent to her .gov email account? Maybe the “hacker” waited until the yahoo account was scrubbed of anything incriminating. The timing of this is suspect.

  11. I’m gonna try this for Cheney’s email, and maybe turn up those millions of missing ones. The password is probably something like “gofuckyourself”. If I get anywhere, I’ll report back.

  12. I’m not surprised at all. That’s really the only way to get into someone’s Yahoo account, is the off chance that they’re a collosal retard and actual gave a functional, guessable password question. Here’s a free tip: Don’t even put in a real question with a real answer, and just remember your goddamn password.

    All these people talking about hackers hacking into the hacker database to hack the hackery have probably never even seen a computer and only have a vague idea of how online security works based on the movies “War Games”, “Hackers” and “Swordfish”, where cool young teens pound away at keyboards for 5 minutes as geometric shapes spin and move on the screen and finally go “I’M IN, I’VE GOT THE LAUNCH CODES”

  13. [re=101159]windupbird[/re]: No you are not the only one. Rove staged a “break-in” of his Austin office 25 years ago during a Texas gubernatorial race so he could blame the D’s for “stealing information”. He also discovered what he said was a “listening device” planted in the wall. The truth is out there.

  14. I guarantee that the FBI has been hacking Hopey’s e-mail ever since his 2004 keynote address!!

    And of course Grampy wouldn’t know how to use a computer. That’s a job for the help, like washing cars, or running a leaf-blower or keeping track of how many houses Cindzilla owns!

  15. Hacking ish hard. Maybeez if I just answer this questions… voila. Tremble before me, for I have secured photo of Bristol making funny face! And now it’s time for the kegger.

    Where I come from that’s not called hacking. That’s just punking stupidity. Hacking requires actual knowledge of TCP/IP transmissions and SSL and SSH and RSH and ICMP and packet sniffing and
    My head exploded.

    S.P. — such a pretty face, such an empty little mind.

  16. Ok, cracking someone’s online mail is tacky (it is not “hacking”, per se…but god forbid anyone pay attention to such things). That said, anyone who thinks yahoo/hotmail/etc are “secure” email services are deluding themselves. These issues notwithstanding:

    When is anyone going to ask this elected official why she was using a yahoo account to conduct official state business. I may be mistake here, but I am reasonably certain this violates AK (and pretty much every other state’s) open records statute. Mind you, she is just following form to the example set by her spiritual leader in the white house.

    Still, I honestly care less about some twit using a “breath in, breath out” method of accessing a crappy online email system than I do an elected official making a *conscious effort* to circumvent offical, mandated communication channels.

  17. No use for the other guy to hack into Palins passport records, as happened to all the other candidates.

    Everyone knows she went to Ireland.

    [re=101159]windupbird[/re]: Makes perfect sense if you think about the wikipedia ‘scandal’ and all the other bullshit surrounding Bible Spice.

  18. My local news just reported that “Hackers from the website” were the ones that did it. Seriously, the showed a screenshot of the fucking words in the Gawker story that explained it was 4chan while they said it. That’s investigative reporting we can believe in!

    hey Angry Blak guy, do you post elsewhere with that name?

  19. Michelle Malkin and her coterie of mouth-breathers are totally congratulating themselves for googling details about the alleged hacker and keeping the pressure on… It’s kinda sweet, like Trig Palin picking up a bottle cap and saying “Iz diss a clue,Ossifer?”

  20. My super secret technique is to give the wrong answers to the security questions. My mom only has one maiden name, but there are an almost infinite number of last names that are not her maiden name.

  21. @2drnk2fuq – Dead on…penetration. It is all about penetration. In my world, “to hack” is to gain unauthorized access or control of system or subsystem. I admit, I am old, I have coded in Machine, Basic, Pascal, Cobol, UNIX, etc and I…very unfairly…think that if you need your programing language to be “visual”, you should really go back to playing your FPS and leave me alone [mind you, I am old and feeble now and now get too much pleasure complaining about Script Kiddies (

    The issue is *not* the cracking of her account…it is her cracking of state law.

    Sadly, no one wants to talk about this…probably because so many people use crappy online email services and they are suddenly confronted with just how insecure those systems are… Urgh.

    And MM, et al are obsessed with the “hacker” because they sure as hell do not want anyone asking why the Gov. was using yahoo for state business. Tools.

  22. [re=101168]AngryBlakGuy[/re]: ABK, when did you become a Kos diarist? They are going to squeeze the snark out of you, leaving you a pie-eyed, earnest idealist.

  23. [re=101168]AngryBlakGuy[/re]: Didn’t mean to out you there, if indeed that’s you. Sorry dude. The Great Orange Satan is ok, though. I’m not sure it that’s my guilty pleasure, or wonkette is… Though I imagine it has to be one or the other.

  24. [re=101156]obfuscator[/re]: No way his shit is secure — I just found a copy on the floor of the women’s locker room. Unfortunately, it’s all just numbers and dates, so I haven’t been able to crack the code yet.

  25. Nick Denton in jail forever? Nah, just hang him by his thumbs
    (I’m giving him credit for having them) until his site stops the
    barrage of pop up ads and “warning – your browser is in need
    of decontamination” or something like that pop ups.

    Also, I never refer to her husband as the “Toddster”, I choose
    to call him the “Toaster”, just an appliance she keeps around
    the house, to use along with her Black and Decker vibrator.

  26. Man, I am like the King Retard of Wonkette lately. First I spark a conversation that gets Shorts perma-extra-double secret banned, now this. I need to have my internets taken away.

  27. Hey all you haters, just remember the reason McCain Can’t use a computer is that his injuries from Vietnam prevent him from using a keyboard. So what if Stephen Hawking can use a fucking computer? Did he live in a hole for FIVE AND A HALF YEARS? You’re all just haters, haters.

  28. [re=101210]expatinOz[/re]:

    i’m spending too much time on nyt caucus…i thought you were serious
    until the last two sentences.

    whew…it’s not you. it’s me.

  29. [re=101213]tsunami[/re]: Shorts apparently got banned, and complained on the facebook group, and then got around the ban, and came back as ShortsPantsShorts. I was drunk, so I missed all that, and then I asked him what happened, and he explained, and then there was much gnashing of teeth, and Sara came on and yelled at him, and after I read what he said to get banned, I could see why. It was a little excessive and not really funny, just foul. Like, in a bad way, not the way we like it. I haven’t seen him since.
    So not really my fault, I’m just the goober that wandered in like Forrest Gump at the Black Panther Party and started asking dumb questions.

  30. [re=101222]Walter Sobchak[/re]: But they let him back as shortsshortsshorts after much bitching. I missed the whole first part with the offensive comment.

  31. The worst thing is that the kid who did this will get hauled away to jail (the Secret Service? When did Yahoo! become a federal agency?) while Dear Governor will get away without even a slap on the wrist, because government officials remain the only group of people you actually need a warrant for.

  32. [re=101225]tunamelt[/re]: Yeah, like I said, I was drunk for that part, I just wandered in and and was like ? and then Sara was like !!!@*%&$ and then I just left it alone.

  33. In what respect Charlie?
    In what respect Charlie?
    In what respect Charlie?
    In what respect Charlie?
    In what respect Charlie?
    In what respect Charlie?
    In what respect Charlie?
    In what respect Charlie?

  34. [re=101233]HuskyMescan[/re]:

    OK, I am now taking a spoon and digging out my armpits after that clip – just so I can regain some feeling and sensation as a human.

    She actually used the word “molecule” – I just wonder “in what respect”

  35. I am so looking forward to October 2nd! Can you even picture the way Joe will have to contort his face so that it doesn’t express, “WTF?!” ?

    Then again, the Repugs will probably try and manufacture a reason for her not to participate…

  36. [re=101238]irisheyes[/re]: At this point she’d be better off cooperating with the Troopergate investigation (but it must be on 10/2 and 10/2 only!) rather than subject herself to the Wrath of Biden. She’s only got two more weeks to find some semblance of a clue and from what I’ve seen so far, that ain’t happening.

  37. [re=101234]Rush[/re]:
    I don’t know. I’m afraid to see it again, the stupid effect might become permanent this time. It was a bunch of words all strung together.

    meth. that’s the only explanation.

  38. Here is a transcript of Palin’s rather brilliant answer:

    “Oil and coal? Of course, it’s a fungible commodity and they don’t flag, you know, the molecules, where it’s going and where it’s not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first,” Palin said. “So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it’s Americans that get stuck to holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It’s got to flow into our domestic markets first.”

  39. shorts, you said shorts?

    “In recent weeks, Mr. Cox has also stepped up his criticism of short sellers, particularly those who engage in “naked” short selling. While short sellers are supposed to borrow shares before selling them, naked shorts do not borrow.”:

    O noes, naked shorts!

  40. [re=101251]Johnny Zhivago[/re]: Wow. I kind of thought that after a long day I just wasn’t listening properly. Now that I see it in writing it’s even worse. Shit, I think my IQ has dropped a few points just reading that. Honestly, my 13 year old daughter commented to day that she and one of her friends could probably beat McCain/Palin in a debate. She’s absolutely right. They’d beat them handily.

  41. [re=101251]Johnny Zhivago[/re]: Yeah!, lets start talking about American market protectionism in regard to oil when we have 3% of the worlds oil reserves and use 25% of the worlds oil.


  42. What exactly is the law that this “hacker” has broken? This is a federal law?

    Is it always illegal to do what he did? I would get in trouble if I found out someone’s yahoo password and looked at their emails? Or is it just because she’s a governor? Does this font make my ass look big?

  43. [re=101160]snig[/re]: Just a minute. It appears there is one email that has not been secured. It was headed toward a defense site in outer Yakutsk and we are unable to make contact with it! Too bad Palin fired Public Safety Commissioner Colonel Korn and he’s now locked himself in his office with the recall code!

  44. Yesterday they actually allowed Palin to take a question from a “member” of the audience at a rally. Okay, she was a plant, but still…. the questioner asked her to “mitigate” claims that she was lacking in foreign policy knowledge and skills.

    It was a brilliant response we’ve come to expect. Along the lines of “God willing, when we take office on January 20, we’ll be ready. We’ll be ready.”

    I’m writing a book called, “Cry, the Beloved Country.” I’ve only got the title so far (which I find catchy). The pages will actually be nothing but tear stained, sodden tissues.

  45. @Weeping Jesus: I saw that yesterday, my brain is still not back to satisfactory working condition. Speaking of, can one of you teach me how to reply to a post all cool like? I’m kind of a computer moran.

  46. [re=101233]HuskyMescan[/re]: Far Out, thanks for linking that, despite the permanent damage to my ears. That is the very first YouTube clip in my experience where the comments have approached Wonkette/Gawker levels of humor and snark.

    You Tube? Who knew?

    Also: Fungible!

  47. [re=101294]Lascauxcaveman[/re]: Is fungible really that uncommon a word? Nobody in the YouTube comments seems to know what it means, which surprises me… I guess it’s too ‘leetist to use in a political setting, but still…

  48. Wow. Those are some seriously angry letters Gawker received. It’s an odd combination – they are full of braindead macho posturing about executions and turning people into bear shit and that sort of stuff, so they are obviously written by freedom-lovin’ mavericks. On the other hand, they have a strangely homoerotic fascination with stormtroopers, jackboots and a fascist-style omnipotent and omniscient state. How do these freedom-loving fascists resolve their inner contradictions? It must be tough being a repub these days.

  49. Can I just tell you something? Seriously. You are truly funny. You need to get laid (but don’t we all….) but you CRACK me up. THankyou! Motherfucker

  50. It’s truly amazing the amount of hot air these brain-dead morons can generate because someone with a computer and a modicum of intelligence managed to hack the email account of their equally brain-dead candidate, who not only made her account child’s play to access, but was dumb enough to be conducting gummit business on a non-secure, non-gummit computer.

    Funny how these same blowhards can’t manage so much as a whimper against a Commander-in-Chief who has spent the past seven years trashing the Constitution and sending their country broke.

  51. [re=101306]InsidiousTuna[/re]: Sarah Palin, Mrs. Nobody know-it-all shreiking cow from Alaska, the joke of American politics -Pravda

    “Hey now!” – Hank Kingsley

  52. [re=101163]Serolf Divad[/re]: Argh! When you wrote Putin, I read Palin and then that brought me to the realization that there are only two letters different in their names, and what’s more, those two letters are AL and UT. Now that could stand for Alaska and Utah, and there’s a magic underwear connection in there somewhere, but there’s a likelier scenario. Put an E in the middle(which stands for Environmentalists can go fuck themselves) and you have Aleut, which made me see, it was like a light going on in my brain, that her plan is to take that Bridge to Nowhere money, and jointly build, with the Russkies, a series of bridges across the Aleutian islands, linking Alaska and Siberia. Either they can invade us by land, or we can invade them by land, but either way, it’s a glorious Armageddon day parade.
    …and isn’t that what we all want, to fulfill God’s secret plan, which is to have us all kill ourselves?

  53. WTF!!11!! I reply to a Yahoo e-mail at work, hit send and this dizzy witch’s face pops up. As if I wasn’t in a bad mood already! Too much, I tells ya, It’s just too much!

  54. [re=101321]gurukalehuru[/re]:
    Actually, I read a proposal for just that bridge some years back in Popular Science or Mechanics. Laughed my ass off. As smart as these engineers portray themselves, they always seem to overlook the most obvious problems with their designs. In this case, there were several. First, the span. Look at the length of the Aleutian chain on a globe, then add the span across the Bering Sea. Second, the construction environment, which is one of the most hostile on Earth. How many lives are you willing to lose? Third, and probably the most obvious; ICE. Big fuckin’ chunks of polar ice would easily smash any bridge piers. DUH! Finally, what would be the gain?

    I can never understand why these engineers can’t focus their ambitions on something far more useful, like self-sustaining communities, rather than teaming with politicians to have penis comparisons.

  55. [re=101286]Mista Eko[/re]:
    Now the world has an opportunity to send pictures of genitals and bodily movements to Alaska’s power elite.

    Democracy in action.

  56. [re=101325]Servo[/re]:
    As an engineer, I can say that we like a challenge. Similar to a competitive eater who is challenged to eat 40 hot dogs in a minute. It doesn’t matter if eating 40 hot dogs isn’t healthy, gives you indigestion or fill you with enough nitrates to fertilize a 10000 acre farm.

    Fortunately, most of these ideas are usually done out of boredom and never see the light of day. It seems to me that most ideas in PS or PM are usually submitted by publicity whores or engineering firm marketers (assholes.)

  57. I got in on this story at the ground floor, so to speak, and it has been really fun watching it filter out through the media. People really are idiots about computers, aren’t they? OH NOHZ ITZ THE HACXORS!

  58. Palin: “Change I can believe in? How about I shit on your head!?! I don’t know which one of these obamofascists Double-O-Sevened my email, but I AM sure that this goes against the Bush Doctrine IN EVERY RESPECT CHARLIE!!!”

  59. [re=101325]Servo[/re]: no problem crossing over from asia to alaska 20000 years ago. what engineering school did they go to? i’m not going to say, “you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”.

  60. [re=101325]Servo[/re]:

    Hey, it’s Popular Mechanics/Science they specialize in absurd speculative engineering projects like digging subway tunnels between New York and Paris, and erecting an escalator to the Moon.

  61. [re=101329]ManchuCandidate[/re]:
    I have a knack for humbling ( mostly junior and egotistical ) electronic test engineers. This usually resulted in lots of foot-stomping and arm-flailing, particularly when I got the backing from their superiors.

  62. [re=101336]facehead[/re]: Bernhardt better watch it. Those kind of comments could get her banned from some of the more prestigious political blogs. Red State would probably still take her though.

  63. [re=101354]Serolf Divad[/re]:
    Bad test subject. His comb-over will create too much drag. However, it would be fun too see the plasma trail coming off his head.

  64. [re=101166]windupbird[/re]: I think it’s obvious this is all a cunning stunt.

    The screenshots were posted anonymously so occam’s razor would make it more likely that she posted the screenshots than a hacker.
    This lets her claim even more victimhood.
    It gave her an excuse to destroy evidence.
    The screen captures are all fluffy and harmless. Undermining the investigation on another level.
    And it lets drudge and rush accuse Obama of using his scary black thug associates to break into her computer.

  65. This is more intense than that movie with Angelina Jolie where they use fancy 1800 baud modems to bring corporations to their knees. fuck…what was the name??? “Tech Masters”? “Computer Nerds”? something like that…

  66. This guy should have archived EVERYTHING and sent it to the Trooper-gate commission. Then he’d just be a wistle-blower instead of a Geprge Bush Dept of homeland security wannabe. The FBI is pissed off because he could hack into someone’s e-mail account and they couldn’t.

  67. But, the hacker wasn’t that bright either. While there is some credit to be given for the hit and miss process of going through “high, high school, [to] eventually hit on ‘Wasilla high’,” the hacker could have also gone to the City of Wasila home page to get the list of local schools. He’d have had a harder time if Palin attended the other high school in town, “Burchell High School.”

  68. A message to my progressive friends here on Wonkette: The use of the word “retard” on the picture accompanying this story is hugely offensive to people with disabilities. And not just because they’re being compared to Sarah Palin. I find it amazing that people who would never use the “n-word” think nothing of using “retard.” If you think using “retard” is just a way to make a clever joke, I hope you will be consistent and make “n-jokes” and jokes using slurs representing Hispanics, Jews, and others. It is that offensive.

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