Mark Zuckerberg Hacked Reporters Emails Using Their Facebook Passwords


Mark Zuckerberg hacked reporters' emails using their Facebook account passwords

Businessinsider.com reports: After Mark launched TheFacebook.com, Cameron, Tyler and Divya hired a series of developers to build HarvardConnection — the site Mark Zuckerberg had told them he would build but did not. By mid-May, the trio had a site ready for launch. By then the site’s name had changed from HarvardConnection to ConnectU.

Sometime during the 14 days leading up to May 28 — the editors at Harvard’s student newspaper, the Crimson, received an email in the their “tips” inbox from Cameron Winklevoss, one of the founders of ConnectU.

This email presented the argument Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divvya Narenda had already brought to Harvard’s Administration Board and to Mark Zuckerberg — that TheFacebook.com was the product of Mark Zuckerberg’s fraud against the ConnectU team.

Since the Winklevoss brothers were best known at Harvard for being exceptional rowers, the story was assigned to Crimson sports writer Tim McGinn. After a phone call, Tim hosted Tyler, Cameron, and Divya in his office at the Crimson. The four of them went over emails between Cameron and Mark.

After the ConnectU team left, the Crimson invited Mark into its offices to defend himself.

When Mark arrived at the Crimson, he asked Tim and Elisabeth Theodore, an editor helping with the story, to sign a non-disclosure agreement so that he could show them the work he’d done on HarvardConnection. Per Crimson policy, Tim and Elisabeth refused to sign the NDA.

Mark lingered around the office, evidently hoping they would change their mind. Finally, Mark agreed to forgo the NDA.

On a Crimson computer, Mark brought up what he described as the work he did on HarvardConnection.  He gave Tim and Elisabeth a guided tour of the site. Mark’s goal seemed to have been to show Tim and Elizabeth, the Crimson reporter and editor, that, other than the ways in which social networks are all the same, there were no features or designs in the work he did on HarvardConnection.com that ended up in theFacebook.com.

Mark’s demonstration was successful: After he left, the Crimson decided not to run a story.  Tim emailed Tyler, Cameron, and Divya to tell them that the story would not run. He contacted Mark to say the the same thing.

But then, perhaps a day or so later, the Winklevoss brothers reached out to Tim McGinn again, this time to tell him that another Harvard rower — one named John Thomson — had told them that Mark had stolen something for TheFacebook from him, too. They told Tim that John’s claim was that Mark Zuckerberg stole from him the idea for a TheFacebook feature called “Visualize Your Buddy.”

With a new accusation at hand, the Crimson decided to re-open its investigation.  Tim McGinn called Mark and told him about about John’s claim and gave him a chance to deny it. Mark denied the claim and got very upset — apparently because he felt he had been promised there would be no story.

For the rest of that night and into the next morning, Tim and his editor Elisabeth Theodore attempted to follow-up with John Thomson. After they finally reached him, John told them that he made the whole Mark Zuckerberg anecdote up in order to impress the Winklevoss brothers, who were important members of the rowing team. [As an aside, kudos to the journalism at the Crimson!]

Tim and Elisabeth decided to drop John’s claims from the story. But, this time, they decided to go ahead and publish a story on ConnectU’s claims against Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg was not content to wait until the morning to find out if the Crimson would include John’s accusations in its story.

Instead, he decided to access the email accounts of Crimson editors and review their emails.  How did he do this?  Here’s how Mark described his hack to a friend:

Mark used his site, TheFacebook.com, to look up members of the site who identified themselves as members of the Crimson.  Then he examined a log of failed logins to see if any of the Crimson members had ever entered an incorrect password into TheFacebook.com.  If the cases in which they had entered failed logins, Mark tried to use them to access the Crimson members’ Harvard email accounts.  He successfully accessed two of them.

In other words, Mark appears to have used private login data from TheFacebook to hack into the separate email accounts of some TheFacebook users.

In one account he accessed, Mark saw an email from Crimson writer Tim McGinn to Cameron, Tyler, and Divya. Another email Mark read was this one, from Crimson managing editor Elisabeth Theodore to Tim McGinn:

From: Elisabeth Susan Theodore
To: Timothy John McGinn
Subject: Re: Follow-up

OK, he did seem very sleazy. And I thought that some of his answers to the questions were not very direct or open. I also thought that his reactiont o the website was very very weird. But, even if it’s true so what? It’s an [redacted] thing ot od but it’s not illegal, right?

We reached out to Tim McGinn and Elisabeth Theodore for comment.  Both declined to comment.

When we reviewed the details of this story with Facebook, the company had this comment:

“We’re not going to debate the disgruntled litigants and anonymous sources who seek to rewrite Facebook’s early history or embarrass Mark Zuckerberg with dated allegations. The unquestioned fact is that since leaving Harvard for Silicon Valley nearly six years ago, Mark has led Facebook’s growth from a college website to a global service playing an important role in the lives of over 400 million people.”

We’re certainly not questioning the latter fact: Facebook’s success has been awe-inspiring.  Given the significant concerns about privacy online in general and at Facebook in particular, however, it seems reasonable to ask what the company’s reaction — and Mark’s reaction — is to the reported behavior above.

In the past, Facebook has told us: “Facebook respects user privacy and access to site usage and profile information is restricted at the company. Any Facebook employees found to be engaged in improper access to user data will be disciplined or terminated.”

It is clear that the events described above would be a direct violation of Facebook’s current policy, which has now been in place for several years. The policy was not in place at the time of the events described above.

A source close to the company suggests that it was the fallout from early privacy violations like this one — fallout that has included reputational damage to Mark Zuckerberg and expensive and prolonged litigation with ConnectU — that has shaped Facebook’s current privacy policies and made Mark the CEO he is today.

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ALERT ALERT

GOP Activist Investigating Hillary Clinton’s Lost Emails
Found Dead — Apparent Suicide By Black Plastic Bag Republican activist Peter Smith was found dead in his hotel room in May 2017 in Rochester, Minnesota.

The hotel staff found Smith with a black plastic bag on his head. He was trying to obtain Hillary Clinton’s lost emails.

UPDATE: Mueller and Congressional investigators have interviewed Smith’s acquaintances several times. Our sources say there is much more to this story.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Peter W. Smith, a Republican political activist and financier from Chicago who mounted an effort to obtain former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, died on May 14 after asphyxiating himself in a hotel room in Rochester, Minn., according to local authorities. He was 81 years old.

Mr. Smith’s body was found by a hotel clerk in the Aspen Suites hotel, located across the street from the Mayo Clinic, according to a Rochester Police Department report. An associate of Mr. Smith said that he had recently visited the clinic. A representative for the facility wouldn’t confirm if Mr. Smith was a patient.

Mr. Smith died about 10 days after an interview with The Wall Street Journal in which he recounted his attempts to acquire what he believed were thousands of emails stolen from Mrs. Clinton’s private email server. He implied that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then serving as the senior national security adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, was aware of his efforts…

…The police report said Mr. Smith was found by a hotel clerk with a plastic bag around his head attached tightly with black rubber bands. Mr. Smith “left documentation on why he committed suicide, medical records, his written obituary, and life insurance” on a table in his room, the report said.

OMG

Massachusetts Man Arrested After Trying To Hire
A Hit Man On Twitter To Kill ICE Agents For $500

A 33-year-old lefty from Cambridge, Massachusetts named Brandon Ziobrowski was arrested Thursday after offering anyone on Twitter $500 to kill ICE agents.

Ziobrowski also expressed his desire to slit John McCain’s throat in several tweets.

FOX News reported:

A Massachusetts man was arrested in New York on Thursday after trying to hire a hit man on Twitter to kill ICE agents for $500 and sharing his desire to slit the throat of Sen. John McCain, federal officials said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said that Brandon Ziobrowski, 33, from Cambridge, Mass. was charged with one count of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat and injure another person for the alleged Twitter posts this year.

Federal officials said Ziobrowski tweeted a murder for hire solicitation to kill Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for $500, and repeatedly tweeted his desire to slit the throat of McCain, R-Ariz.

“The agents and officers out there enforcing federal laws are doing their job, plain and simple,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a news conference. “There is a difference between public debate and putting others in fear of their lives.”

Federal officials said Ziobrowski in March started tweeting threatening messages against federal agents that work for ICE.

On July 2, the 33-year-old allegedly tweeted: “I am broke but will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills ICE agent. @me seriously who else can pledge get in on this lets make this work.”

The Justice Department released a statement on the arrest of Ziobrowski:

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