Sharyl Attkisson on being hacked: My computers turned themselves on and off in the middle of the night

posted at 3:31 pm on June 17, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via the Right Scoop, a follow-up to Friday’s post. Forgive me for a possibly stupid question but when she says that her computers were turning on and off, she means they were powering on and then powering down, not that they were merely “waking up” from sleep mode, right? When I tweeted the link to this, a bunch of people tweeted back that a computer might “wake up” automatically due to Windows Update. But Attkisson has had professional computer forensics people investigate, though; obviously she knows the difference by now between a computer updating itself and doing something freaky weird like powering on. The question is, how could a remote intruder access the computer in the first place if it was powered down? They would have needed to gain physical access to the machine and installed some sort of remote power switch, I assume. And why would they do something like that if, per Attkisson herself, they took sophisticated steps to erase their digital fingerprints after they messed around in her hard drive? If you don’t want your target to know she’s being hacked then maybe don’t alert her by remotely powering on her computer. Something doesn’t add up.

Maybe she means that her computers did merely “wake up” from sleep mode but that there was no apparent explanation for it, including automatic updating?

She’s careful not to make any direct accusations but here’s an awfully heavy hint about what she thinks the hacker was after:

“Whoever was in my work computer, the only thing I was working on were work-related things with CBS were big stories I guess during the time period in questions were I guess Benghazi and ‘Fast and Furious.’ The intruders did have access to personal information including passwords to my financial accounts and so on, but didn’t tamper with those, so they weren’t interested in stealing my identity or doing things to my finances. So people can decide on their own what they might have been trying to do in there.”

Watch at 1:20 too for when she says she’s “not prepared” yet to talk about who they think is responsible. That sounds like she and the forensic investigators have some inkling but aren’t ready, for whatever reason, to be more specific. Given the emphasis in the clip about the timing of the hacking, i.e. when she was hard at work on Benghazi and Fast & Furious, if she had reason to believe it wasn’t the feds but rather some freelance hacker, this would have been the moment to say so, no? E.g., “Many people have asked me if I think the Department of Justice is responsible but our research points to a private actor.” Everyone suspects the DOJ here in light of the AP/James Rosen revelations and of course she knows that, and yet she conspicuously refuses to rule them out. How come?

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Because Chief Technical Officers don’t want to seem like they know less than the poor schlep Network Engineers who do this everyday.

It always makes people look smarter & less shameful when they arrogantly choose to persist in their errors rather than just humbly admit them, doesn’t it? :)

The argument was hopefully helpful for people who don’t know that when they turn their computer ‘off’ it isn’t really off.


And Schadenfreude, I would gladly beat that guy over the head with every ‘toolbar’ that tries to load itself onto my computer.

Here is a good free tip for people.

When you download new software and the installer asks if you want to do a regular install or advanced always choose advanced. They’ll often put in a little note that unless you’re an MIT grad you should just use the default install. In actuality choosing advanced gives you the option to not install all of the extra crap that they bundle together with the software.

Spyware, Adware… I think Bing may actually be a front for the NSA.

SittingDeadRed on June 18, 2013 at 11:12 PM

Good advice…

Anti-Control on June 19, 2013 at 4:37 AM