Palin email guy : don’t call him a hacker

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Lawyers acting for the guy who allegedly broke into Governor Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account have filed motions arguing that their client should not be called “a hacker”.   Why?   It gives off “negative connotations”.

So what are we supposed to call him?   An “email security tester”?

“Because of the negative connotations evoked by these terms, there is a significant danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, and misleading the jury,” the motion states. “Hackers are commonly portrayed as dangerous criminals who are involved in malicious conduct such as credit card fraud, stealing, intentional disruption of legitimate activities and causing economic damages.”

But this…gentleman…allegedly hacked into Palin’s email account, so why can’t we now call him a hacker?  If he accessed the email account without permission, doesn’t that fall within the parameters of hacking?

Via The Register

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26 Responses to Palin email guy : don’t call him a hacker

  1. >> If he accessed the email account without permission, doesn’t that fall within the parameters of hacking?

    No, not really. If I recall correctly he just guessed the password. Sure it's wrong and illegal, but not really hacking because he didn't break or exploit any security measures. Guessing is not exploiting, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploit_(computer_se

  2. In middle school a friend of mine figured out the answer to my security question on my email. It wasn’t hard; it happened to be the name of a girl we both knew. I would not then nor now refer to my friend as a hacker.
    Hackers generally implies some level of competency in the computer realm; awareness of security encryption and an idea of how to break through it. From what I’d heard Mrs. Palin simply had a stupid security question that this guy figured out.
    I do get the confusion. Yes, her account was hacked, but this guy is nowhere near smart enough (or at least not displaying the smarts in this instance) to deem or deserve the term ‘hacker’.

    • Completely agree with this comment. As far as I remember reading he simply guessed or somehow got her password (reportedly it was “popcorn”)

      This is not hacking in any sense. In fact I don’t see that he’s really done anything wrong. Sure, he illegally got into her email. I think he’s done us a service by showing how little she cared about her security to have such an easily guessable password. Considering the position she was nearly in (and is still in as Governor of Alaska) I feel better that somebody gets into her email as a joke than for malicious purposes. Give the kid a medal.

      It wasn’t

  3. “If he accessed the email account without permission, doesn’t that fall within the parameters of hacking?”

    No, strictly speaking it meets the parameters of CRACKING. Hacking generally refers to coding, and what he did didn’t require anything more than an educated guess.

  4. In middle school a friend of mine figured out the answer to my security question on my email. It wasn't hard; it happened to be the name of a girl we both knew. I would not then nor now refer to my friend as a hacker.

    Hackers generally implies some level of competency in the computer realm; awareness of security encryption and an idea of how to break through it. From what I'd heard Mrs. Palin simply had a stupid security question that this guy figured out.

    I do get the confusion. Yes, her account was hacked, but this guy is nowhere near smart enough (or at least not displaying the smarts in this instance) to deem or deserve the term 'hacker'.

    • Completely agree with this comment. As far as I remember reading he simply guessed or somehow got her password (reportedly it was "popcorn")

      This is not hacking in any sense. In fact I don't see that he's really done anything wrong. Sure, he illegally got into her email. I think he's done us a service by showing how little she cared about her security to have such an easily guessable password. Considering the position she was nearly in (and is still in as Governor of Alaska) I feel better that somebody gets into her email as a joke than for malicious purposes. Give the kid a medal.

      It wasn't

  5. "If he accessed the email account without permission, doesn’t that fall within the parameters of hacking?"

    No, strictly speaking it meets the parameters of CRACKING. Hacking generally refers to coding, and what he did didn't require anything more than an educated guess.

  6. From what I read, this kid tried to reset her password, then researched the answers via google or something. After he reset the password to popcorn he posted the password on a cracker/hacker website. Google the definition of hacker, most say it is someone gaining unauthorized access. Since most definitions are slang, who is to say this kid isn’t a hacker?

    • With that logic anyone who bangs his forehead to the keyboard and accidentally finds out the correct combination of a username and password is a hacker. They gained unauthorized access, did they not?

  7. From what I read, this kid tried to reset her password, then researched the answers via google or something. After he reset the password to popcorn he posted the password on a cracker/hacker website. Google the definition of hacker, most say it is someone gaining unauthorized access. Since most definitions are slang, who is to say this kid isn't a hacker?

    • With that logic anyone who bangs his forehead to the keyboard and accidentally finds out the correct combination of a username and password is a hacker. They gained unauthorized access, did they not?

  8. Stop mixing up hackers and crackers, stupid media people! Grrr…”Hacker” does NOT have a negative connotation, or at least it didn’t until the media started using it wrong. “Cracker” is the bad one. Hackers are people with exceptional skills in regard to programming or hardware, usually, but I’m sure there are people finding other things to hack.

  9. Stop mixing up hackers and crackers, stupid media people! Grrr…"Hacker" does NOT have a negative connotation, or at least it didn't until the media started using it wrong. "Cracker" is the bad one. Hackers are people with exceptional skills in regard to programming or hardware, usually, but I'm sure there are people finding other things to hack.

  10. he did accessed the email account without permission.
    yet the word hacker does not mean the same for u, a person involved in the IT world than to the preson in the jury who haven’t yet figured out how to play minessweeper

    i certainly would not like my ignorant jury to think im involved in credit card frauds and stuff like that

  11. he did accessed the email account without permission.

    yet the word hacker does not mean the same for u, a person involved in the IT world than to the preson in the jury who haven't yet figured out how to play minessweeper

    i certainly would not like my ignorant jury to think im involved in credit card frauds and stuff like that

  12. Well, that depends. I call a ‘hacker’ somebody that gains access through their own accord with no help from the individual who owns the account.

    Somebody who sends fraudulent e-mails to the account owner in order to gain their sensitive data a ‘fisher’.

    I call somebody who hands over their password to a fisher, and gets their account stolen a dumb ass.

    What exactly did both of them do? : p

  13. Well, that depends. I call a 'hacker' somebody that gains access through their own accord with no help from the individual who owns the account.

    Somebody who sends fraudulent e-mails to the account owner in order to gain their sensitive data a 'fisher'.

    I call somebody who hands over their password to a fisher, and gets their account stolen a dumb ass.

    What exactly did both of them do? : p

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