Thursday, January 22, 2004

This morning's Boston Globe carried an amazing story about a computer hacking scandal in Washington, D.C. Is seems that Republican staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee gained access to the files of the Democratic members of the committee. The Democrats thought all their stuff (which included politically sensitive and confidential plans and strategy) was secure and that only users with the correct password could access the files. Well an IT person (working for the Democrats - or who used to work for them) forgot to flip the switch on the security settings, giving everyone access. The Republicans apparently felt no ethical obligation to either disclose the security flaw or at least avoid reading the Democrats confidential material. They not only read the stuff, but they leaked substantial amounts of it to friendly members of the press. When Democratic memos began appearing verbatim in certian newspaper columns, the Democrats got suspicious and investigated the leak. At the Registry of Deeds, we are always concerned about the security of our computers. When you read a story such as this, with supposedly honorable government officials exploiting gaps in computer security, it reminds you why you should worry about hackers.

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