CIA director hack by teen spotlights US cyber-frailty

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John Brennan’s compromised email demonstrates how even hi-tech superpowers can be bested by unsophisticated hackers.


New York, United States – Back in May 2009, a freshly inaugurated US President Barack Obama launched a crackdown on “spoofing and phishing and botnets” in a government-wide web security overhaul.
Six years later, analysts say it is not going well.
This week, the US government faced its latest cyber-shame with the contents of CIA Director John Brennan’s hacked personal email account plastered about the internet – apparently the work of a high school student who was irked by US policy towards Palestinians.
While analysts blame Brennan for being sloppy, they also highlight a growing threat from disgruntled hackers, often partly motivated by politics, who can use relatively basic hacking techniques to cause widespread alarm and controversy.
“It’s shocking that people at such high levels are not better briefed on securing their communications. Private sector workers would be loath to take such a risk for fear of losing their jobs,” Dan Patterson, a TechRepublic journalist, told Al Jazeera.
“For Brennan, was it negligence, hubris, or a belief that the rules didn’t apply to him? Of all people, he should know that there’s a silent, secret cyber war happening right now involving not just millions, but billions of accounts.”

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