Yesterday, a hacker apparently gained control of the official Facebook page of Colin Powell, retired four-star general and former secretary of state. The Smoking Gun reported that the attack was perpetrated by Guccifer, the same hacker who became the subject of a federal criminal investigation after he allegedly gained access to Bush family email accounts and posted private documents, including images of paintings by George W. Bush.
But unlike previous attacks by Guccifer, which were email hacks that indicated troubling breaches in security, the Facebook foray against Powell was markedly puerile. Instead of vaunting access to private information, whoever was in control of Powell's Facebook page used the opportunity to spout all-caps vitriol about the Illuminati and to make unsubstantiated claims about the existence of a photo of George W. Bush "wearing a Ku Klux Klan hat."
Screen shots previously published by Guccifer were also posted to Powell's Facebook Timeline.
With help from Facebook, Powell regained control of his page Monday afternoon and issued an apology for the "stupid, obscene posts" made by the intruder.
It does not appear that the hacker gained access to any sensitive information, but Naked Security wrote that the vulnerability of Powell's account raises concerns.
"The interesting question that cannot easily be answered is just *how* Colin Powell's Facebook account was hacked," Graham Cluley wrote for Naked Security. "Was [Powell's password] compromised because it was poorly-chosen and thus easy to crack? Or was it perhaps that the very same password was being unwisely used elsewhere?"
A Facebook spokesman told The Huffington Post that high-profile individuals should take advantage of two-step authentication for their accounts to help guard against attacks. Facebook security literature also recommends that account holders limit the number of administrators on a page, since "the risk of a security compromise increases with each new admin."
Although they did not publish the alleged photo of Bush in Ku Klux Klan garb, The Smoking Gun, which has corresponded with Guccifer, offered an inconclusive description of the alleged picture:
The photo, taken by the ex-president, shows a painting of a cat. Bush can be seen in a reflection in a window behind the easel. His face is obscured (and possibly blurred), which the hacker concluded was the result of a white hood.
On Tuesday, an FBI spokeswoman told HuffPost that the bureau is investigating a website that claims to have published "secret files" containing the Social Security numbers, phone numbers, previous addresses and credit reports belonging to 17 high-profile figures, including first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.