In A Politically Sticky Situation? Blame A Hacker!

from the new-strategy dept

There’s some news spreading today, based on a San Francisco Chronicle article and now being passed around via Reuters, that California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s computer was hacked, and that’s how a transcript of politically damaging comments were leaked to the press. What’s interesting is that it seems like there are a bunch of ways that data could have been leaked — and no one seems to give any evidence to support that the computers were hacked. It is quite possible that they were hacked, but following so closely on similar charges that came out during the Connecticut Democratic primary for the Senate race, where Senator Joe Liebermann’s campaign claimed their web server was hacked (even though most now believe it was just a poor web setup by the hosting company they used), you have to wonder if claiming you were hacked is becoming an easy political way to deflect controversies. Suddenly, the story is about the hack (true or not), rather than the actual issue. It may turn out that none, one or both of these situations involved actual computer hacking, but it is interesting to see how the hint of “hacking” (even without any details) becomes a big story so quickly.

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Comments on “In A Politically Sticky Situation? Blame A Hacker!”

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Geeb says:


…that, given the politician’s obvious (or at least proclaimed) belief that what they’re doing is for the good of the country, they see it as a good excuse to say “I put all my highly important documents/webpages/whatever on an unsecured computer and plugged it into the intertubes.”

If it’s that important, they could consider taking a bit of time to secure it more thoroughly, at least to the extent that there’s an audit trail if they are genuinely hacked.

More likely, it’s a convenient lie, but the voters should really use this as an opportunity to ask some difficult questions about how they take care of sensitive material.

Rabid Wolverine says:


There was a day, back in the early 80’s, when being called a ‘Hacker’ was a very high compliment. It meant you knew what you were doing because you had paid your dues staying up till 4 am for months on end to figure out the intricacies of ‘the machine’.

But then the press got hold of the word and said ‘lo and behold sounds like a BAD word to me so let’s turn it into one!’ Hence the evil connotation for hacker was born.

I wonder who is worse, the press or the politicians they write about…

DreadedOne509 says:

I've Been Hacked!!!

The focus shouldn’t be on the hack, but rather how easily their systems were hacked. This in a time when sensitive government and veterans data is so easily stolen? This just shows a laziness on thier part and a willingness to sacrifice our personal data to whomever has the resources to take it.

And we the people elected these idiots into office? Stuff like this should have people reconsidering who they vote for in the next elections. If our ‘leaders’ can’t protect thier own, or our data, how can they protect us?

Anonymous Coward says:

No, blame the idiots for putting overly sensitive data on the computers. People are too ‘secure’ with computers giving them a lot more credit than is due, in terms of security..

So the focus should be on better data management AND better politicians – afterall, if they aren’t doing anything wrong, they have nothing to hide, right??? Where have I heard that before 😉 lol

gianni says:

take the easy way

It never ceases to amaze me how politicians ( and lawenformcement at times) take the easy target. Someone in Arnolds camp screwed up or was being vindictive and a hacker is just an easy target like these celebs who say their cellphone was hacked and that how those “Naked pictures” got out. Or this HP case and how “pretexing” may have been illegal, it still just social engineering. huimmm maybe hackers should use them spiffy terms like pretexing, hahahah.

Duh. says:

Well if he didn't name it...

Well if he didn’t name it:

I don’t think it would have been such a blatent target then?

Anyways. I don’t think they should be slandering ‘Hackers’ with crappy excuses about how someone leaked info and they just took the easy, ‘zomg this must be how it happened’, way out of it. Please…it was probably some guy who worked for the hosting company or some blatent person posting it as ’emailto: allmedia@news’ and just sent a link like ‘To incriminate Arnold click HERE’

whaaa? says:

"hot" blooded and passionate?

Ok…so how is “hot” blooded and passionate a racial slander. I mean shoot…she took it as he thinks she is strong and passionate to get her point across.

I think people are just looking for a reason to throw out a label of “HE’S A RACIST!”

-.- honestly…I think we are the only country that has soo many slang words for people….made by THOSE people…and then hated for saying it.

Lay Person says:

It all depends...

More often than not most administrators aren’t aware of security holes until they’re told of one or realize the potential for one. Since we don’t know the details it’s sheer speculation as to who’s to blame.

I often realize security issues from message boards or peers that have discovered them. In fact, the higher the profile of the server in question, the higher the probability that more people will try to breech it. It’s just the way things are. I have a secure network but there are people (software by those people) trying to steal information all day long. So far, I’ve been safe but it is an ongoing battle. As soon as you think you’re safe, you’re not, and that’s when they get in. Even the antihacker software out there operates in reactive than a proactive fashion. They only address security problems after they witness an attack.

Ponch says:

Investigation ...

Doesn’t seem like a big deal to me (the comment). The security is certainly a problem, but I have another question:

The investigation is being conducted by the CHP (California Highway Patrol)? I admit to not knowing much about the makeup, responsibilities and/or divisions within the CHP – but based on the name (and what I’ve seen on TV years ago 😉 this might not be the best resource to investigate such a “theft”.

Perhaps someone confused the Information Highway with U.S. 1?

chris (profile) says:

freakin' mitnick's site got hacked

kevin mitnick, arguably one of the most famous and skilled hackers in the world, had his website hacked. it wasn’t his personal computer (dude is not allowed by law to own or operate one) but some hosting company. seriously, it can happen to anyone.

public websites are almost never hosted in house, they are almost always hosted by a company, and those companies focus on low prices, speed, and almost never on security.

the only exceptions are web based companies like ebay, google, or amazon.

most hosting companies deal with defaced sites simply by moving the DNS over to a backup server and restoring the site from tape.

Anonymous Coward says:

if it was a hack, the problem isn’t a lack of security. security can always be compromised. the real issue is whether they’re using it as a scapegoat to take focus off of what really happened. and if that’s the case, it is working. most of you haven’t even mentioned the actual case but whether security is beefed up enough in this day and age, etc., etc., etc.

honestly, i didn’t find a problem with anything he said nor did the person he was talking about. therefore, no one else should be offended. i hate when people get offended when they see someone joking around with someone else. if you’re not involved, don’t get involved.

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