By Robert Lemos
A member of a Republican Congressman's public relations staff attempted
to hire two "hackers" to change a college grade, but instead became the
punch line of an online joke, giving up his Social Security number,
school ID, and even taking a picture of a squirrel, according to online
In transcripts of the e-mail exchange, a person claiming to be Todd
Shriber (corrected)--the communications director for U.S. Representative
Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.)--asked members of security Web site
Attrition.org in August to help him change his college grades. Shriber,
when contacted by a reporter at NetworkWorld, eventually admitted
yesterday afternoon that he did indeed send the e-mail messages.
The Congressman fired the communications director on Thursday, according
to media reports.
Perhaps the oddest piece of the exchange was the ability of the two
Attrition.org members--security professional Brian Martin, also known as
"Jericho," and another member using the name "Lyger"--to convince
Scriber that he needed to provide them with a picture of a squirrel or
"I can supply all that," Shriber allegedly wrote when Jericho asked for
Scriber's personal information and whether or not there were pigeons on
campus. "Forgive what I assume is dumb question, but what are pigeons? I
know you're not talking about the bird."
To which "Jericho" responded: "Actually I am."
When the duo assured him that a picture of a squirrel would work fine,
Shriber sent a picture a week later.
Politicians and business leaders have not been above dabbling in
cybercrime. In 2004, two Republican staffers repeatedly took Democratic
memos that had mistakenly been left accessible on the U.S. Senate's
network and leaked them to the press. This year, a staff member to Phil
Angelides, the Democratic rival to California Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger, took audio files that had also apparently been left
accessible on the Schwarzenegger's campaign site. And, in 2005, a number
of prospective business students hired a hacker who had access to
business school networks to find out whether they had been accepted.
Rep. Rehberg's office could not immediately provide a comment on the
CORRECTION: The original news brief had misspelled Todd Shriber's name.
The article was also updated at 10:30 am PT with the news that Rep.
Rehberg's office fired the communications director on Thursday.
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