Not the actual hackers in this story. (Image: gualtiero boffi/Shutterstock)
A cybersecurity expert once told me something I’ll never forget: “don’t underestimate what bored teenagers can do.”
A group teenagers that call themselves “Crackas With Attitude” reminded me of those words when they were able to hack into the personal AOL email account of CIA Director John Brennan. The teenagers, who described themselves as “stoners,” even had the guts to give multiple media interviews, boasting about their feats.
Now the hackers are back at it, despite the fact that the FBI is investigating them, and that some law enforcement officials anonymously said the government is going to “make an example” out of them.
One of the members of the group, known as Cracka, told Motherboard that they have now hacked into an email account belonging to the FBI Deputy Director Mark Giuliano. The hackers also boasted about it on Twitter.
Cracka said that they got into a Comcast email that’s under Giuliano’s wife’s name and provided a series of screenshots to prove they got access to the account. The hackers declined to reveal how they cracked the account, but said it was “easy.” The screenshots, however, don’t conclusively prove the hack, and Motherboard wasn’t able to confirm it independently.
An FBI spokesperson declined to neither deny nor confirm that Giuliano’s email got breached.
“We do not have anything to say on the matter at this time,” the spokesperson Jillian Stickels said in an email.
The teenager also said they found Giuliano’s cellphone in the email account’s contact lists and called him.
“I called it and asked for Mark and he's like ‘I don't know you but you better watch your back’ and then he hung up and I kept calling and he was getting mad then he didn't pick up,” Cracka told Motherboard via online chat.
“We didn't target him for anything interesting, we targeted him because FBI are [sic] investigating us.”
Motherboard tried calling the number, but received no answer. The number’s voicemail, however, identifies it as belonging to a Mark Giuliano. The FBI spokesperson declined to reveal whether that’s indeed his number because she couldn’t “confirm/deny personal information for an FBI employee.”
Cracka said that they were not looking to get any information out of this hack, but were just trying to retaliate.
“We didn't target him for anything interesting, we targeted him because FBI are [sic] investigating us,” he said.
When I asked him if he is worried that Giuliano will come after them, Cracka dismissed it.
“He already was, now he's just even more mad,” he said.
According to the screenshots that the hackers shared with Motherboard, the breached account doesn’t appear to contain any sensitive information other than a list of contacts, which might belong to Giuliano’s family members and friends.
Even if true, this is clearly not a highly damaging hack. But it goes to show that the hackers, rather than hiding to avoid drawing more attention from the feds, are still targeting and trolling them.