Much Ado About Spoofing; Climate Economist Has E-mail Hijacked

Deputy News Editor

Every climate scientist in the world must be begging their information technology experts for the latest antivirus, spam, and firewall software. In the latest e-mail fracas, Nicholas Stern, who in 2006 led an influential review on the economics of climate change, apparently had his e-mail account hijacked into sending fake e-mails, along with a virus, to colleagues at the London School of Economic's Grantham Institute for Climate Change, which Stern heads.

Yet there's no evidence so far that this was a deliberate attempt to read or copy e-mails from researchers, as happened recently to climate scientists at University of East Anglia. Bob Ward, policy and communications director at Grantham Institute, says this type of e-mail "spoofing" happens regularly at all universities. "It's nothing like the UEA incident," he says.

Ward also released this statement:

We can confirm that an e-mail spoofing incident occurred on 27 January 2010. This was a 'spoofing' e-mail attack from an unknown sender using the e-mail address of Nicholas Stern, who is IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. The attacker did not gain access to any e-mail messages. The attack was identified very quickly by members of the School's IT security team who took steps to prevent it from causing any damage. Information about this attack was passed on to the Police Central eCrime Unit.

Posted in Climate, Technology