It has been claimed that the director of the CIA has had his personal email account breached by a teenager, with social engineering playing a part in the hack.
A teenager has allegedly broken into the personal email account of the director of the CIA, John Brennan, according to the New York Post.
The youngster, who has described himself as being non-Muslim, explained that he attacked Mr. Brennan’s email account “in opposition to US foreign policy and support for Palestine”.
The publication says that it was contacted by the currently anonymous youth earlier this month and has since spoken with him over the phone on numerous occasions.
The FBI and other federal agencies in the US are looking into the alleged data breach to see if they can find out his identity.
“We are aware of the reports on social media and have referred the matter to the appropriate authorities.”
“We are aware of the reports that have surfaced on social media and have referred the matter to the appropriate authorities,” the CIA said in an official statement.
Information extracted from the CIA director’s AOL account and since published online include a spreadsheet that contains information on agency employees.
Details like clearance levels, social security numbers, emails and telephone numbers are said to have been listed in this document.
The youth, believed to be under the age of 20, has since confirmed that others were involved in the attack.
Speaking to the Guardian, Jasper Graham, former technical director of the National Security Agency, said that this data breach had all the hallmarks of social engineering.
“Social media has enabled this to the nth degree, because a quick profile search and a friend request and then LinkedIn can get you enough information to start resetting things,” he explained.
“All the providers, whether it’s credit cards or banks, have to have something else in place.”
The use of personal email accounts at a senior, governmental level has become extremely topical since it was revealed that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had done as much during her tenure as secretary of state.
This particular matter will be discussed at a public hearing next week, with Mrs. Clinton set to testify in front of the House Benghazi Committee.