The Washington Post
, raised questions about the security of using a web-based e-mail for official business. Tuesday those questions were answered.
Someone (no one seems to know who yet, although internet speculation is rampant) posted the password to Palin's Yahoo account to
, along with a few screenshots, since confirmed to be real, of some of Palin's correspondence.
Internet pranksters Anonymous took the ball and ran with it, which led quickly to Yahoo's closing of the account. A bit of clarification is probably in order here: Anonymous isn't a group, in any traditional sense, just a bunch of people whose names are unknown. The idea that Anonymous is one entity, acting in a unified, if mostly disorganized manner, arose on 4chan and similar imageboard sites, and is a bit of a joke.
earlier this year, and Wikipedia has
So far, only a couple of e-mails and some family pictures have surfaced, which are
and wikileaks (which seems to have been down since the story broke yesterday). That may be all that were obtained, as Yahoo seems to have shut down access after multiple users tried to access it at once. Judging from postings on /b/ from someone claiming to be the original poster, the account was accessed through one of those 'lost password' features, which ask personal details that, in Palin's case, were all over the internet already. A McCain spokesman condemned the leak of the e-mails to the
and others as "
Yahoo accounts for
have since been deactivated.
The Secret Service and FBI are reportedly investigating, and if they read
, it really shouldn't take them very long to find the culprit.
Breaking into the e-mail account seems to have been the work of one person, who may or may not be a 4chan regular. More typical of Anonymous was the chaotic aftermath. Last night, after Greta VanSusteren's Fox News show discussed the e-mails,
asked whether the e-mail hack was "harmless prank" or a "political dirty trick." The poll was running overwhelmingly towards dirty trick until a link to the poll was posted on /b/. As of this morning, "harmless prank" has more than 300,000 votes.