Poor Jack Straw. Having embraced the flexible wonders of webmail for his constituency inbox, he was stung by Nigerian scamsters yesterday who hacked into his account and sent out a group email begging for £3,000. The tabloids had a field day.

If the gap year story circulated by Straw’s Nigerian imposters was slightly less than believable – “I was on my way to a conference in Lagos when I lost my wallet” – it’s also incredible how easy it is to get into people’s Hotmail accounts. Armed only with a browser and Google, I decided to have a go at Straw’s address myself.


As you can see in the screenshot, the only thing standing between Jack Straw’s plentiful contacts book and the prying eyes of fraudsters was a security question – his grandfather’s occupation. A 30-second trawl through Google pulled up this profile from The Independent with more biographical details than you can shake an identity thief’s swag bag at. Apparently, his maternal grandfather was a TGWU shop steward on London buses.

I decided to leave my foray there, but the fact the whole exercise took me less than 5 minutes makes it all the more amazing that 24 hours on, Straw still hasn’t changed his email address.