The bad news for Silicon Alley Insider: A hacker was able to gain access to its Gmail account, firstname.lastname@example.org, and send a Nigerian scam email (see jump) to several-dozen people. The good news for Silicon Alley Insider: Its email-newsletter-subscription database was not compromised.
Here’s what happened, as reported by Silicon Alley Insider: Its Gmail account was hacked and the password was changed by the hackers, who also set up an OpenMail.com Webmail address as a backup, so each time Silicon Alley Insider tried to change its password, the hacker had access, until the situation was resolved with a phone call to Google. A Nigerian mobile number was set as the number for Google to send an SMS about password changes, and all of Silicon Alley Insider’s contacts were deleted. The trash folder was emptied, as well, to delete any traces of the scam emails.
Silicon Alley Insider traced the problem to an email sent to an intern that contained password information so that she could use Google Analytics.
Following is the garden-variety Nigerian scam email that was sent by the hacker:
From: Silicon Alley Insider
Date: Mon, Dec 28, 2009 at 1:40 PM
Subject: My predicament
It is with profound sense of sadness i wrote this email to you. I don’t know how you will find this but you just have to forgive me for not telling you before leaving. I traveled down to United Kingdom Yesterday for a short vacation but unfortunately,i was mugged at a gun point on my way to the hotel i lodged all my money and all other vital documents including my credit card and my cell phone have been stolen by muggers.
I’ve been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all,Things are difficult here and i don’t know what to do at the moment that why i email to ask if you can lend me £1,000.00 so i can settle the hotel bill and get a returning ticket back home. Please do me this great help and i promise to refund the money as soon as i get back homm
Please do me this great help and i promise to refund the money as soon as i get back home.
I look forward to your positive response.