American high schoolers have hacked CIA director John Brennan’s personal AOL account in an embarrassing security breach.
The teens, who claimed to be protesting against US treatment of Palestine, posted revealing information of at least 20 CIA operatives on Twitter, and continue to threaten the release of more.
Mr Brennan’s AOL account allegedly contained the social security numbers of top intelligence officials, a 47-page application for top security clearance and a government letter on the use of “harsh interrogation techniques” of terrorism suspects, reported the New York Post.
In an interview with the New York Post, one of the hackers identified himself as a non-Muslim American high school student, motivated by support for Palestine.
On the Twitter account used to reveal the sensitive information, the students went by CWA or “Crackas With Attitude” – a reference to the ’90s hip hop group Niggaz With Attitudes.
The hackers claimed to have compromised Mr Brennan’s account using “social engineering”, a hacking technique which relies on the psychological manipulation of others.
In this instance, the teenagers claimed to have convinced Verizon staff to handover Mr Brennan’s personal information, before convincing AOL staff to reset his account password.
The breach is embarrassing, not solely because it was done without high-tech hacking techniques, but particularly in the wake of Hilary Clinton’s email hacking scandal, which saw her criticised for choosing not to use a better-protected government email account.
Although a separate Twitter account, allegedly created by the hackers, has been suspended, the Cracka Twitter account is still active, with the hackers recently Tweeting at Verizon to ask the company not to “snitch”.
In a statement, the CIA said: “We are aware of the reports that have surfaced on social media and have referred the matter to the appropriate authorities.”
pls dont snitch @verizon
— cracka (@phphax) October 19, 2015