Email messages can be forged. Activists can be subjected to fraud, hacking and other illegal actions. A common way that we were targeted was by a hacker who sends thousands of email addresses that, to the recipient appear to come from activists. the "From" field is never to be trusted on email messages. Some of them were apparently "spam" (unsolicited advertising) but others appeared to be generated by sophisticated hackers.
The way these work is that the hacker can take a message from you or simply your email address and concoct "realistically" appearing messages that not only have your email address as a sender but also even include your IP address in the headers. However, close examination of the full headers (e.g. using http://spamcop.net/ ) reveals the routing is through insecure servers. There are literally thousands
of insecure servers in operation and many are outside the US (we have seen them from Taiwan, China, India and Pakistan).
The hacker/hackers are politically motivated because the forgeries took one of two forms:
1) Flooding emails to activists appearing to come from other human rights activists but instead containing Zionist propaganda in the contents.
2) In some cases flooding other people with legitimate letters slightly modified to forge the idea that an activist is flooding email of political nature to his/her colleagues (in my case at Yale to thousands at Yale with a inserting my name and departmental affiliation). The idea is to cause mischief and trouble
Literally dozens of activists were subjected to this fraud and the messages flooded in the tens of thousands effectively crippling free speech and activism for Palestinian human rights.
Report Internet fraud to the FBI at http://www1.ifccfbi.gov/index.asp including any unsolicited email that may appear to come from familiar names (it is relatively easy to send messages with a forged "from" field). Also please write to the media about this.
There are websites that could help you track these spams/forgeries besides http://spamcop.net/ :
Track email originators http://www.obliquity.com/computer/spambait/complain.html
Domain Registration information (spam) http://www.netsol.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois
IP address search http://www.arin.net/whois/arinwhois.html
Other chain letters/Email spam http://www.breakthechain.org/
Other resources on internet activism are available from Organizers Collaborative at http://www.organizenow.net/
Problems in dialogue groups on teh internet