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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yes, Palin's Use Of Yahoo Is A Big Deal

I don't normally talk politics on this blog since I prefer to keep it a zone of fluffy goodness - I think the revelations about how Palin uses email is technical enough in nature to merit a mention.

Naturally McCain's campaign is making this out as a serious violation of privacy and law. Which - it is. Absolutely. This was an illegal grab of someone's private communication. There is no doubt about that.

And if the McCain campaign can point me in the direction of the Russian mafia hacker who actually gives a damn about all that, I might give a damn as well. The truth is they don't and neither does any other criminal out there trying to find out what our country's leaders are talking about.

And let's be specific here: the best guest is that the hacker group Anonymous used the most basic method possible to access Palin's account. They simply kept guessing until they got it right.

Should we vote for a ticket which could well put the keys of our nuclear arsenal into the hands of someone whose password may very well have been "password"? I don't think so.

Clamatius had it right:

As detailed in the postings, the Palin hack didn't require any real skill. Instead, the hacker simply reset Palin's password using her birthdate, ZIP code and information about where she met her spouse -- the security question on her Yahoo account, which was answered (Wasilla High) by a simple Google search.
-- Palin E-Mail Hacker Says It Was Easy

And naturally that's all on top of the fact that simply as a matter of policy, Palin shouldn't have had the account in the first place - at least not for any official usage. Why should we trust someone in such an important office who can't follow such a simple rule?

Nor do I think we should vote for the man who put her dangerously close to that situation either. Perhaps McCain should have spent a little longer googling before choosing his running mate.


Clamatius said...

According to a post on Slashdot, it wasn't her password - it was her security questions that was the weak point. She just used her zip code and birthday for password-changing security questions - both of which are of course well known.

In my humble opinion, the fact that picking Palin as VP seems to have made McCain more popular, not less, is a sad thing for America. The thought of a (potential) President Palin honestly terrifies me, both because I disagree with her on all policies of substance and also that she seems worse than dumb.

Josh said...

Funny, I just heard from someone in RL that they read the password was "popcorn". The security questions makes pretty good sense, though, and would actually probably fall faster than a simple dictionary attack.

I think picking Palin shows McCain's true colors. He is willing to pull out a publicity stunt to win if need be - he knew Palin would generate interest and also bring in some of the conservative voters that he can't.

So despite that she would make a laughable, if not outright dangerous, replacement for him as Pres - he'll do it just to gain some points.

Disgusting if you ask me.

Clamatius said...

Sure, McCain had already figured out that he needed to just swallow the GOP platform hook, line and sinker to get the nomination this time round. Once he'd already sacrificed principle on that, Palin probably seemed like a minor thing in comparison.

Funny that the Republican talking heads were so keen to attack Kerry over "flip-flopping" yet McCain has reversed himself from his previous policy stances on his last Presidential run in so many areas.

I think that the Daily Show's segment on the Palin pick was particularly good.