Paul Manafort accused of ‘foldering’ to hide communications

Foldering – a way of communicating without sending a message.

Paul Manafort accused of 'foldering' to hide communications

A judge has ordered Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, to be jailed pending trial following allegations of witness tampering.

As we’ve previously reported, Manafort – who is facing multiple charges of money laundering, bank fraud and illegal lobbying – was alleged to have contacted witnesses using encrypted messaging apps.

But he’s also said to have used a method called “foldering” to communicate surreptitiously with others.

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Foldering isn’t complicated. You make an email account and share the password to the account with the person you wish to communicate with. Then you write your message but crucially don’t send it. Instead, you save it as a draft.

The person you wish to communicate with logs into the account, reads the draft, deletes it, and then creates their own draft response.

You log in, read their draft, delete it, create your own draft message. And so on.

No emails ever get sent, they just get saved as drafts.

Perhaps the most famous case, until now, of foldering to surreptitiously communicate was the David Petraeus scandal, where the CIA director was forced to resign after being found leaking classified information to biographer Paula Broadwell, with whom he was having an affair.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

2 comments on “Paul Manafort accused of ‘foldering’ to hide communications”

  1. Tech Guy

    The connection between this issue and genuine security issues is tenuous at best.

    You obviously are uninformed as to the real reason behind the "Russia collusion" investigation's tenacious attempts to find something—anything—they can use to prop up allegations for which they still have no evidence, after spending more than a year and millions of taxpayer dollars.

    Mr. Manafort is being railroaded. They've threatened his family if he doesn't "cooperate" …meaning, give whatever testimony and admit to anything they want him to say, just to find something that will give any shred of credibility to their failed attempt to unseat a duly elected president.

    A federal judge has already ruled on the transparently bogus attempt to coerce Mr. Manafort to "sing" (the judge's word, not mine).

    It is saddening to see this newsletter pile onto the torrent of innuendo in the news media that seeks to use Mr. Manafort and financial improprieties he allegedly made EIGHT YEARS before the 2016 campaign in an effort to cast aspersions on Mr. Trump.

    Perhaps it would be best to leave the politics out of it.

  2. C'mon

    Seriously @Tech Guy? Seriously?! You're the only one who brought politics into it. Maybe you should take your head out of your seriously stopped up arse and practice what you preach. Reads to me as if Graham was speaking more specifically to the concept of foldering as a method of "secure" communications, and flagging that it may not be nearly as secure as might be believed.

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