“As soon as Americans attack you, send me a ticket immediately, and I will come and fight against the Americans"
The Iraqi leader receives many greetings, requests for autographs, business proposals, curses, and spam via email. An American journalist who writes about computer security released this information after he managed to read Saddam’s e-mail.
According to the AP, Brian McWilliams from New Hampshire became interested in the official Iraqi government website, the online status of which is unsteady. It’s astonishing, but the site cannot be found everyday. The US journalist found a link on the site that allows one to send e-mails to President Hussein himself!
The AP reports that to satisfy his curiosity, McWilliams replaced the address meant for the Iraqi president with firstname.lastname@example.org. After that, the hacker tried to insert the word “press” as the password and waited for a result. It took much time for McWilliams to get a result; the man was even going to press “stop” already when the “inbox” downloaded. There were letters addressed to Saddam Hussein.
The mailbox cracked by the New Hampshire hacker contained over one thousand of e-mails. The mails were incoming since the middle of June to the middle of August, and then the inbox achieved its limit. The hacker says that none of the e-mails were read or responded to. It seemed that Saddam didn’t check his E-mail for a long time.
However, McWilliams checked Saddam’s e-mail for him. He told about his story in October’s issue of Wired News online; the International Herald Tribune also reported on the hacker. However, no reaction to the publications came from “competent American authorities.” The journalist supposes that either the authorities are not interested, or they are already perfectly informed of it. In fact, he didn’t plan to share his findings with the US government at all.
The New Hampshire hacker was extremely surprised to see that many emails were requests for Saddam Hussein’s autograph; it is astonishing that so many people are interested in Saddam’s autograph. Journalists asked Hussein for interviews in their e-mails. And, as with all of us, Hussein’s inbox contained quite a bit of spam.
Brian McWilliams says that the most interesting e-mails are from American companies offering to strike “deals” with the Iraqi leader. Apparently, some “patriotic” businessmen from the USA treat UN sanctions and White House politics as a joke. The director of a California company asked Hussein for a meeting to discuss the development and export of “advanced technologies.” However, when McWilliams called that company wishing to cooperate with Iraq, they responded that their intention was only to receive a permit to fix an antenna there.
Some people sent their e-mails to Saddam Hussein to inform him about their extreme dislike of him. A former commando, a Gulf War veteran, expressed his regrets that American troops “didn’t wipe Saddam off the face of the earth.” He remained alive only due to politicians who interfered. The commando would be happy to receive an invitation and put an end to the “problem.”
There was also an email with quite the opposite opinion from an Austrian man. The man wrote from Vienna: “As soon as the Americans attack you, send me a ticket immediately, and I will come and fight against the Americans. I am serious; I am a good shot.” Will Saddam have enough time to buy this fellow a ticket when the Americans attack him? Better to do it in advance.
McWilliams certainly knows about the confidentiality of correspondence and that it’s bad manners to read other people’s letters. However, he never mentioned the names of people who had sent e-mails to Saddam Hussein. In addition, he was of great use to the creators of an Israeli official website: he e-mailed them and recommended them to change their password. However, he received no response. Probably, there are currently more important problems in the country to work on. McWilliams had to change the password himself before he published his article. He was afraid that someone else might read Saddam’s e-mails and cause harm to the people sympathetic with the Iraqi leader or might even send e-mails on Hussein’s behalf.
Sergey Borisov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/15/39/3300_spam.html
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