I may be jumping off the deep end here by talking about politics but it's IT security related this week and hey if it brings comments, all the better, even if they are flames.
I suppose most people have heard now that Governor Palin, the vice presidential candidate who has attracted tons of press lately had her Yahoo email account hacked. I just want to say how monumentally STUPID all parties involved in this story are. Number one, Ms. Palin. I would say she should know better, but knowing how techno-clueless almost all politicians are, I dont blame her totally. But her tech staff need to be fired on this one. It's common knowledge in the tech industry how trivially hackable most freemail type accounts are. I have long railed to corporate users to avoid these services for any official business. Apparently she was using it to avoid the more closely monitored internal state run system which eventually can be made available via FOIA requests. Before the conspiracy theorists get started, it seems she was doing this to protect her private personal correspondence rather than to do any backroom dealing. That makes sense considering that you wouldn't want your daughter's personal emails, phone numbers, etc. being on such a system and the samples that have been posted bear her explanation out. But again, to use such an insecure system when you know every hacker/cracker with an ax to grind or looking to make a name for themselves is going to go after it, is either very poor judgement on her part or very poor advice from her staff. Next Stooopid party are the sites posting this information. Not only would I consider it highly unethical from a journalistic standpoint, but it may well be illegal. At best, it may set them up for a civil suit from the Governor for invasion of privacy. It would be one thing if it contained salicious details or revelations of wrong doing or anything newsworthy. But alas, it is just the normal boring drivel that we all send on email; pictures, and so forth. If these sites are doing it to make her look bad, I think they just made her once again look the victim and even more just like the average person.
Finally, I have a real big stupid award for the perpetrator of this prank. If initial reports are to be believed, it may be a young female college student. When she is caught, and she almost surely will be, she will likely face a lengthly trial and an even lengthier jail sentence. I have no doubt they will throw the book at her because many politicians will be howling for blood. So her (if she is a she) college career will be cut short. The only degree she will be getting is in advanced licence plate making. One silver lining for her: No college loans to pay back! Anyways, as much as I make fun of it, it really is quite sad to see a young person ruin her life over some really boring emails.