Possible Hacking Scandal

Aug 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: Ethics

Computer HackerI received several notices since the past few days about a possible media hacking scandal. No, I’m not referring to the recent hacking scandal that brought down the News of the World and found the chief of News Corp media group Rupert Murdoch summoned before Parliament for a public shaming. No, this is a pukka desi version all our own.

A few weeks ago, Google began posting a small alert in the inboxes of Gmail users letting them know if their emails were being automatically forwarded to another account. Google requested that users verify that the email forwarding was indeed authorised and not the result of hacking.

Apparently this alert showed up in the email accounts of several prominent Pakistani politicians, alerting them to the possibility that their emails had been hacked and their private messages forwarded to an unknown party.

It is currently unknown who is behind the alleged hacking, but there is some evidence that it may have been done by someone involved in the media to dig through the private emails of leading political figures.

Is Pakistan looking at its own News Corp scandal in the works? That remains to be seen. But it is worth taking a few steps to make sure your email account is safe. Google recommends the following steps:

  1. If you see unfamiliar account access, please change your password immediately. This may indicate that someone has unauthorized access to your account. It’s a good idea to pick a strong password for your Gmail account and never use it again on other websites.
  2. Sign back in to your Gmail account and click the gear icon in the top right corner of Gmail and choose Mail settings.
  3. Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
  4. In the ‘Forwarding’ section, select the Disable forwarding radio button.
  5. Click the first drop-down menu in the ‘Forwarding’ section and remove any unfamiliar email addresses.

Does Pakistan have a News Corp scandal of its very own? Time will tell if this is the work of an overly ambitious reporter or something else. Whether you are a prominent politician or a private citizen, though, your personal messages should be your own and not for others to secretly read. Please take some time to check your own accounts and protect yourself from hackers.

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