Hacker hits US spy chief James Clapper’s personal accounts

Hacker hits US spy chief James Clapper’s personal accounts

James ClapperImage copyright
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James Clapper’s office confirmed some of his online accounts had been breached

The US director of national intelligence has had several of his personal online accounts hacked, his office has confirmed.

A spokesman said the matter had been “reported to the appropriate authorities”, but declined to say more.

As director of national intelligence, James Clapper serves as a key adviser to the US president on security matters including cyberthreats.

It follows a similar cyber-attack on the CIA’s director in October.

The Motherboard news site reported on Tuesday that it had been contacted by a young hacker who had claimed responsibility.

Motherboard reported the teenager had said he was part of the same group – Crackas With Attitude (CWA) – behind the earlier breach.

Calls rerouted

The youth said he had broken into Mr Clapper’s personal email, his Verizon phone and internet account settings and a Yahoo email account belonging to Mr Clapper’s wife.

The BBC understands that Mr Clapper’s office has only seen evidence that the hacker actually accessed Sue Clapper’s email and the couple’s family phone number.

It appears that the teenager altered the phone number’s settings so that calls were rerouted to a spokesman for the Free Palestine Movement, a cause the CWA says it supports.

Motherboard said the hacker had also passed on what he claimed was a log of home calls Mr Clapper had recently made and received.

Security blogger Graham Cluley said it was odd that no screenshots of Mr Clapper’s emails had been shared if his account had indeed been breached, but added that the other evidence was still concerning.

“If the details of the security breach are true then it is obviously a concern that the hacker was not only able to reroute calls made to Clapper’s home, but also view the phone numbers of people calling him and access personal email accounts,” he wrote.

“For that reason, it’s perhaps a relief that those behind the hack were more interested in simply pranking the director of national intelligence rather than having something more menacing in mind.”