Hacking

I received the following email this morning.

Your tickets have been cancelled

Your tickets for The Deplorables | MELBOURNE have been cancelled.

So I wrote to the organisers to ask why. I personally never expect the show to go on, but why cancel? This was the reply:

Hello

We’re currently investigating why these emails have been sent out as the tour is still going ahead. Nothing has changed, we are still waiting for Gavin and Tommy’s visas to be approved.

This, as it turns out, was the second time in about two weeks that someone has clearly hacked into my email account or to an email account to which I have written. The first was a couple of weeks ago when a query was posted at the Society for the History of Economics (SHOE) website asking for an updated list of problems that had been solved by economists. An interesting question, I thought, so after a week during which time no one else had replied, I posted this, partly in fun but also with serious intent since there are no unsolved problems in economics, that is, none over which there is unanimous agreement.

I thought I ‘d wait to see if anyone else had anything to add but since no one else has, let me note that there is at least one other unsolved problem in economics which is this:

Does public spending during recessions add to employment and hasten recovery?

I can think of a few others but will leave it at that.

And within a day I received this.

From: “YORKU.CA LISTSERV Server (14.5)”
Date: 27 March 2019 at 4:49:07 am AEDT
Subject: Re: UNSUBSCRIBE SHOE

You have been removed from the SHOE list.

That someone did not like my poking a stick into the moribund Keynesian carcass that lives on in our zombie economic texts, peddled to millions of unsuspecting students, is par for the course. But they could only have unsubscribed me, near as we can tell, by using my own email account. Pretty unsettling.

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19 Responses to Hacking

  1. stackja

    Someone Getting Up to mischief? They have the money for such activities.

  2. Tintarella di Luna

    We’ll be back tosmoke signals and message sticks before too long

  3. pbw

    We’re currently investigating why these emails have been sent out as the tour is still going ahead.

    If there are actually emails, then the problem is unlikely to be with individual email accounts, but rather with the server account for The Deplorables.

    As for the other one, it could be that some under-educated and over-zealous administrator thought that asking such a question was a clear indication that you were a troll.

  4. Cranky Conservative

    Depending on the configuration of your email domain, it might (or might not) be trivial to fake an email purporting to be from you. Or even just “telnet some-mail-server 25” and fake the SMTP session. Some of those old ListServe email lists are likely to be just that, old, and easily fooled.

  5. egg_

    the problem is unlikely to be with individual email accounts, but rather with the server account for The Deplorables.

    +1

    (Hacked) the source.

  6. pete m

    A good IT guru can ghost your email account, so sending an email to the host saying please unsubscribe me would not hack your account or the server.

    You can also send out dummy emails saying an event has been cancelled etc in similar way.

    Possible but unlikely anyone has hacked your email account.

  7. 2dogs

    It is quite easy to spoof a source email address using the SMTP protocol.

    I would suspect that in the Deplorables case,the cancel email was spoofed. Unsettling here is how they found who had bought tickets.

    On the unsubscribe case, someone observing that Kates is a subscriber may have sent in a fake unsbscribe request, spoofing Kates address.

  8. Cassie of Sydney

    “Tintarella di Luna
    #2979448, posted on April 4, 2019 at 4:24 pm
    We’ll be back tosmoke signals and message sticks before too long”

    Yep, when we’re all sent to the gulags for thoughtcrimes…a reality that isn’t too far off….smoke signals and message sticks will come in handy.

  9. John Brumble

    Chances it wasn’t Isaacs for the listserv? Close to zero.

  10. Mitchell Porter

    The idea that these two incidents are part of a united campaign targeting Steve sounds outlandish to me. Yes, hackers and stalkers exist, but the digital world is also full of glitches and failures to communicate.

    The fact that the event organizers speak of fake cancellation emails, plural, being sent, makes it sound as if there has been an attempt to sabotage attendance in general. I find *that* to be completely plausible, since these tours by people like Milo, Southern & Molyneux, Tommy Robinson, etc, are prime targets for full-spectrum disruption, from antifa trying to torch the joint (as they did in Brisbane when Southern & Molyneux spoke), to lawfare (preventing entry to Australia), and – I haven’t heard of it but why not – attacking the Internet infrastructure that allows the events to be organized.

    As for being unsubscribed from the History of Economics list, it could be a genuine software error, or a cranky administrator, I can’t tell. I will point out that in the archive for the 4th week of March (see link provided by “egg_”), Steve’s message is there and receives a number of replies.

    So if both these events *are* malicious, I would guess that the unifying factor is not a single hacking campaign, but rather that Steve has a tendency to involve himself in activities that draw hostile attention (politically incorrect speaking tours, economic heterodoxy).

  11. egg_

    Yours truly subscribed to the above list via hotmail and got a “PayPal” phishing email within minutes (which I forwarded to PayPal’s phishing address) – beware.

  12. Colonel Crispin Berka

    Read this old ABC article about the rejection of The Deplotables’ visas.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-30/proud-boys-founder-gavin-mcinnes-denied-visa-to-australia/10573134

    By the end of that story I had to make sure I wasn’t in a nightmarish hallucination in Topsy Turvey World. Look at how many statements and words are taken to mean the opposite of what they actually mean.
    A speaker is de-platformed, and this is a victory for free speech.
    A group specialises in suing people for exercising free speech and this group calls themselves a “civil liberties” group.
    The petitioning lawyer says we should never support “calls for violence against people you don’t agree with as a legitimate form of free speech”, and decides the solution to prevent violence is to prevent people from arguing their case. In fact it’s because words are the intermediate level between silence and violence that we need speech to be freely exercised.
    It was like every paragraph of the story was the exact opposite of the truth.
    I could call it Nineteen Eighty Four but that’s just a cliché now.

  13. egg_

    A speaker is de-platformed, and this is a victory for free speech.
    A group specialises in suing people for exercising free speech and this group calls themselves a “civil liberties” group.

    TheirABC’s propaganda to keep the herd in order, no free thought allowed without approval!

  14. yarpos

    An adminstrator can unsubscribe you from a list without needing access to anything of yours. Just as you cab be wiped from a blog. Hardly unsettling.

  15. Nato

    Wasn’t there also that one when you sent out a paper and got a job offer?
    Sometimes i wish i were important enough for someone to go to those lengths for me, but then think “Nah….”
    If you want to keep something private, you need to use paper and ink

  16. Mr skeletor

    I got the same cancelled emails, so it was certainly a hack from their end.

  17. Kneel

    “I got the same cancelled emails, so it was certainly a hack from their end.”

    They need to implement Sender Policy Framework and reverse DNS lookups to block such spam attacks.

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