Analecta Cyber Company Blog: High school student hacks into CIA director's AOL account

2015-12-01

High school student hacks into CIA director's AOL account

Some concerning reports have recently surfaced regarding Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan. As embarrassing as it may seem, his personal AOL email account has been hacked. Even more astonishing, an American high school student has taken credit for the hack, under the Twitter name "Crackas With Attitude".



The hack resulted in numerous pieces of sensitive top-secret data being compromised. The self-described teenage hacker called the New York Post to detail his exploits. It was thoroughly detailed in the reports that the teenage hacker was able to access the director’s private email account and got a hold of the following information:

A 47-page application for top-secret security clearance
Social Security numbers and personal information of several top US intelligence officials, and
A government letter discussing "harsh interrogation techniques" used on terrorist suspects

Data for others accessed too

Other personal information of 2,611 former and current government intelligence officials was claimed to have been compromised by the hacker including phone numbers, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses and even their level of security clearance and employment status. As proof, the teenager tweeted screenshots displaying some of the sensitive information he claimed to have gathered from the Brennan’s email account.

According to reports, the hacker posed as a Verizon employee to trick another employee into revealing Brennan's personal details. He was then able to gain access to the AOL account. He then reset the account’s password before the account was disabled.

This wasn’t the first time hackers have targeted the CIA. A few months ago, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was targeted when she stored classified emails on her personal servers.

The incident is under investigation by federal agencies including the FBI. But two anonymous American officials denied the allegations, stating that no classified information was exposed as a result of the hack.