Investigation underway into hacking of Bush family email accounts

February 8, 2013 2:17:57 PM PST
The U.S. Secret Service says it has launched an investigation into an email hacking attack on the Bush family. The agency is trying to figure out how a hacker got into the private email of both former presidents.

A spokesman for President George H.W. Bush couldn't confirm the content that was hacked, but the blog site The Smoking Gun reports it was personal information, photos, and even a security gate code.

The site is reporting the hacker breached the AOL account of the former president's daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch. From there, the hacker apparently gained access to other email accounts, including those of her brother, George W. Bush, and sportscaster Jim Nantz.

One email between the two reportedly contained the former president's street address and a four-digit gate code.

Chris Bronk, a Rice University expert on cyber security, says while it's not clear how the hacker gained access to the email account, the intrusion highlights how vulnerable people can be.

"Anyone can be targeted. And the hardest targets can be beaten with a certain amount of brute force and time. Saying that anyone is universally safe from having an email account hacked, it's just not possible right now," said Bronk, who's a Rice University IT Fellow.

According to the online report, the hacker claims to have accessed three years of personal emails dating back to 2009. That includes, allegedly, several personal emails sent between family members during the elder Bush's recent hospitalization.

The hacker, who remains anonymous in the report, claims the federal government began investigating him a long time ago. He also claims to have hacked hundreds of other people's accounts.

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