Global warming research exposed after hack

An anonymous hacker has exposed private e-mails and other documents that belong to a climate researcher

An anonymous hacker has posted private e-mails, files and other documents belonging to a noted climate researcher, sparking an international debate between skeptics of global warming and those who see it as an urgent problem.

The files include about a decade of e-mail correspondence belonging to Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Shortly after news of the leak began circulating Thursday, critics of global warming science zeroed in on some of the messages as evidence of bias in the climate research community.

Jones' e-mails offer some candid insight into the thoughts of a noted climate researcher and his peers.

A spokeswoman with the University of East Anglia confirmed that the data was taken from a university server, but noted that because "of the volume of this information we cannot currently confirm what proportion of this material is genuine."

"We are undertaking a thorough internal investigation and we have involved the police in this enquiry," she added.

On Friday, the research unit's Web site had been moved to an emergency Web server, presumably as a result of the breach.

The e-mail, which includes Jones' correspondence with other researchers and journalists, can be searched here.

The RealClimate Web site, a forum for climate change scientists, disputed skeptics' claims that the e-mails showed any attempt to manipulate results. "More interesting is what is not contained in the emails," the site noted. "There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’ [Medieval Warm Period], no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords."

Judging from the data posted, the hack was done either by an insider or by someone inside the climate community who was familiar with the debate, said Robert Graham, CEO with the consultancy Errata Security. Whenever this type of incident occurs, "80 percent of the time it's an insider," he said.

E-mail data dumps are a familiar way of settling grudges in the hacker community, but they happen in the political world too. Last year, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's Yahoo Mail correspondence was published after a hacker managed to reset her account password.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Copenhagenglobal warminghacksecurity

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?