In a sign that cybercrime can reach even heads of state, French police are scrambling to investigate the hacking of French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s personal bank account.
According to reports, Sarkozy called police in September after he noticed small amounts of money had been disappearing from his account. The story first surfaced yesterday in a report by the Journal du Dimanche.
The French consulate in San Francisco did not respond to requests for comment by press time. The U.K. Daily Telegraph quoted Sarkozy’s office as saying a prosecutor is investigating, together with fraud squad officers.
The news marks the latest high-profile instance of a politician’s account being compromised.
After Sarkozy, the next-most prominent victim may be U.S. vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska), whose Yahoo e-mail account was hacked last month.
“I guess the moral of this is, even if you’re the president of a country, your account can still get hacked,” Dave Marcus, security vendor McAfee’s director of security research and communications, told InternetNews.com
Marcus said that Sarkozy’s logon information could have been obtained “through any number of ways — ‘carding,’ phishing, or when he used a computer with malware on it” because he “travels a lot.”
‘Carding’ occurs where stolen credit card information is sold, often wholesale. McAfee Avert Labs researcher Francois Paget said in a blog posting that this is the most likely way the thieves got Sarkozy’s information.
Thus far, officials have yet to release information about any breakthroughs in Sarkozy’s case, according to reports.
David Kernell, a 20-year-old Tennessee college student suspected of hacking Palin’s account, has been indicted by a federal grand jury.