Belfast Telegraph

Fine Gael's data 'took just seconds to steal'

Hackers who accessed the personal details of 2,000 people on the Fine Gael website claim it took only seconds to steal the data.

The online thieves say they have destroyed the database and there is "no threat" to the website's users.

In email correspondence the anonymous attackers:

  • Deny being professional hackers;
  • Claim FG left administrator passwords set to their default;
  • Say the website was "incredibly insecure";
  • Warn FG to "buy Irish" next time.

Emails signed by "Raepsauce and Palladium" outline their motive behind the attack which stalled Fine Gael's consultation with the electorate.

They say the process of breaking into the website was "really rather simple".

"In the media, you [FG] have proclaimed that your site was 'totally secure'. Perhaps on a technical level it may have been more secure than the average server, but there is no patch for human stupidity.

"You or your web designer left the administrator passwords set to their defaults, so to gain entry we did not have to do any actual 'hacking' per se."

They claim that after "a few simple commands" they had total access to the database.

The email states: "We merely did this to highlight the lack of security on a server you proclaimed to be secure.

"Please, next time you decide to harvest your supporters' personal information, secure it adequately and future incidents like this can be avoided -- the next person who tries may be far more malicious."

A Fine Gael campaign spokesman said that they were restricted in what response they can give.

"There are a series of investigations under way into the hacking of the website. Fine Gael is helping all the relevant authorities with these investigations," he said.

In two separate emails, the hackers repeated that they had destroyed the stolen database.

The two signatories, also referred to on the defaced Fine Gael website, say that there were "several others" involved in their plan that "was intended to be a wake-up call to the country".

"I would like to emphasise, the database is gone, we have no more copies of it. It was not passed to any third party. I personally have made sure that all copies made were erased," the email says.

A message on the Fine Gael website today continues to state the page was "professionally hacked", but this is now being denied.

"Professional implies someone paid us. It also implies we were some 'Elite Hackers' with 'incredible skills'.

"We were just the average, normal, totally harmless hackers who happened to do something that caused 'Epic Drama' and gathered massive amounts of media attention," they say.

The controversy over the Fine Gael website began last week when it emerged that it was being hosted in Miami.

"I bet an Irish hosting provider would not have let such a thing happen!" said the hackers.

"Seriously, Ireland is full of talented web designers and website admins, who know how to secure web pages properly. Support the local economy next time!"

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