Hackers have broken into the email account of UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw, says Sophos.

According to the security firm, hackers used the MP's Hotmail account to send emails to his contacts claiming Straw had lost his wallet during a recent trip to Nigeria, a charity called 'Empowering Youth to Fight Racism. The hoax emails also said Straw needed $3,000 (£2,072) in a bid to return home.

"We're seeing more and more reports of hackers breaking into web accounts and social networking profiles," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

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"You have to wonder if the hackers broke into Jack Straw's mailbox in a similar fashion to the attack used on Sarah Palin's Yahoo account last September, where cybercriminals reset passwords by guessing the answers to 'secret questions'. "

"Another possibility is that the MP used a simple-to-guess dictionary word for his password - something we have advised against and which again is a bad idea. Either way, there's bound to be embarrassment for the politician who founded the National High-Tech Crime Unit," added Cluley

"Of course, it's unlikely that anyone would really believe that Jack Straw was stranded in Nigeria with no method of returning to the UK. But, perhaps more worryingly, whoever broke into Straw's account has had access to his address book and emails that he has sent and received in the past. That information could be very useful for identity thieves."

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