The Republican Vice-President candidate Sarah Palin was at the centre of an embarrassing security flaw this week as hackers broke their way into two of her personal email accounts.
Screenshots of two Yahoo email accounts belonging to Palin, as well as a contacts list, were posted on the Wikileaks whistle-blowing site as intruders utilised a flaw in Yahoo’s password administration system.
The intruders used publically available information on the internet, including online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, to convince the Yahoo ‘forgotten password’ system that they were the authorised users of the account. Their identity was hidden through the use of a proxy service.
The hackers were said to have found “nothing incriminating” in the account.
In an official statement Yahoo said: “Yahoo treats issues of security and privacy very seriously.”
It added: “To protect the privacy of our users, we are not able to comment on the details of a specific user account.”
“Generally, if Yahoo! receives reports that an account has been compromised, we investigate for suspicious activity and take appropriate action,” the company said.
The attack on the e-mail accounts comes as questions are being asked about whether Mrs Palin used her personal e-mail accounts to carry out state business.
US law states that all e-mails relating to the official business of government must be archived and not destroyed. However, it does allow for personal e-mails to be deleted.
The hacked accounts have since been deleted by Yahoo.