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Hackers Strike Again: Federal Reserve, Ex-President Bush Targeted

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

Are hackers still out there causing mischief on the Internet? You bet! Indeed, our own Federal Reserve reported that one of its internal websites had been breached by hackers last week, according to Reuters.

The Reuters article notes that this follows an assertion that hackers associated with the activist group Anonymous had gained access to personal data relating to more than 4,000 bank executives. That data was then posted on the Internet.

A statement by a Federal Reserve spokeswoman stated that information had been obtained by "exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product."

That "exposure was fixed shortly after discovery," the spokeswoman said, adding, "This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve System." All affected individuals reportedly have been contacted.

Further underscoring our vulnerability to hackers, just days after the Fed's hacking admission, another hacker claimed to have accessed private email accounts belonging to members of former President George W. Bush's family. The alleged hacker, who called himself "Guccifer," posted some of his plunder, including a self-portrait painting of the former president in the shower, Reuters reports.

There are a number of potential vulnerabilities with any system. With the Fed's hacking incident, for example, the vulnerability apparently was a website vendor product. The government and companies should do their very best on the front end to assess and cure vulnerabilities to help forestall hacker attacks. It is not enough to fix some vulnerabilities but not others, as just one opening may be enough to allow a hacker to wreak havoc.

Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP , where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here . To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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