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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/8/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hacking is more art than science and needs just a little knowledge.

A most wanted hacker, known as "Guccifer" has given an interview to The Smoking Gun and provided valuable clues to how he hacks the email accounts of high-profile personalities including government officials, celebrities, and business leaders.

Guccifer enjoys taking personal photos and making them public after adding his handle to the image.

Guccifer enjoys taking personal photos and making them public after adding his handle to the image.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/8/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Guccifer, hacking, hacker, email, privacy, documents, interview


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One of the world's most wanted hackers, a person named "Guccifer" has given an interview to the web publication, The Smoking Gun. In that interview he dropped hints about how he operates.

Guccifer is a hacker who has breached several high-level email accounts stealing address books, personal and confidential correspondence, phone numbers, and even scripts for TV shows, and generally causes havoc and embarrassment for many high-profile personalities.

In addition to email, Guccifer has hacked Facebook, Flikr, and Dropbox accounts as well.

The Guccifer interview took place in February 2013, and that interview has now been updated by TSG with information gleaned documents provided by the hacker.

Guccifer's tactics seem to be somewhat rudimentary given the incredibly high profile of the people he's hacked. According to TSG, most hacks appear to be little more than Guccifer guessing the correct passwords and answering password reset questions correctly. To help answer those questions, Guccifer admitted to simply reading Wikipedia pages.

This suggests that Guccifer is from from being some kind of computer whiz and is more likely a young adult with an obsession for embarrassing high-profile personalities, and a knack for guessing passwords and personal information.

Once Guccifer hacks into an account, he (we're saying he for editorial consistency) harvests the address books and any other critical information. He resets passwords to social networks, and has the new password sent to the hacked account. From there he can get into Facebook accounts to harvest pictures, obtain more detailed information, such as phone numbers, and chooses his next target.

In reality, a lot of computer hacking is little more than these kinds of tactics. Hackers do not need special equipment or software, just a good sense of how programs and networks operate, and a lot of knowledge about their victims. Most hacking attempts end in failure, but enough succeed that they can make headlines, especially when the victims are considered important people.

According to TSG, among Guccifer's conquests are:

"Comedian Steve Martin; editor Tina Brown (seen below); ex-Nixon aide John Dean; author Kitty Kelley; actress Mariel Hemingway; three members of the UK's House of Lords; a former Air Force secretary; the CEO/chairman of MetLife, the $60 billion insurance conglomerate; a Pulitzer Prize winner; the director of Romania's domestic intelligence service; and a Gibson Dunn partner with the improbably Dickensian name Cantwell F.  Muckenfuss III.

"Along the way, "Guccifer" has also gathered the cell phone numbers of Robert Redford and Warren Beatty, the private e-mail addresses for Nicole Kidman, Leonardo DiCaprio, and other celebrities, and even the script for the fourth-season finale of "Downton Abbey" (which the hacker swiped six months before the TV episode first aired in England)."

Interestingly, Guccifer revealed a few details about himself in the interview, although those details could be false leads designed to throw investigators off. Notably, Guccifer commented that he was too poor to own a cell phone. He mentioned he had a family with a daughter and enjoyed spending time with them.

He has also talked of living overseas and has apparently researched extradition treaties to the United States as well as U.S. laws, implying that he is a foreigner.

Guccifer also says he has an archive of documents which he has provided to a journalist, in case he is caught.

If Guccifer teaches us anything, it is that hacking is more art than science and it's easier than most believe. The hardest part is to be daring-and foolish enough to try. The other lesson is that you should use a better password than your child's name, street address, or other guessable combination of words and numbers. A random string that you alone memorize works fairly well.

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