Ken Auletta, author of best-selling book Googled and venerable media columnist for The New Yorker, fell victim to a common digital crime Monday morning: His Gmail account was hacked.
At 5:44 AM, the author's account blasted contacts in his address book with a hackneyed SOS soliciting cash. "I'm sorry for this sudden request. It's because things actually got out of control. I'm Madrid, Spain, right now," pleaded the note. "I came down here on Vacation, i was mugged and all my belongings including cellphone and credit card were all stolen at 'GUN POINT.'"
The scam message raises the question of whether the accounts of high-profile public figures are more sensitive to being compromised. Journalists face particular pitfalls in such cases, which could risk the confidentiality of sources.
Auletta used AOL for his email most of his Internet career but shifted to Gmail within the last few years. He did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication.