Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hacker cover stories

The hacking of this blog -- despite my changes of password, terminal and geographic location -- notionally might not be the work of a government agency.

According to Bruce Schneier in his latest Cryptogram (available on the net), commercial security systems are generally very poor, as is demonstrated by the pathetic security record of computer voting machines.

One would think however that Google's security system would be top-shelf. But perhaps not. Or perhaps someone is tracking my movements so closely as to be able to use keyboard detectors when I change passwords and locations or is otherwise able to exploit security holes specific to a particular location.

Still, I suspect that the hackers are very likely cut-outs for a government unit of some kind. Do you really suppose that the 9/11 traitors are twiddling their thumbs while their adversaries are calling attention to the holes in their story?

So why did Google's techies claim that a bug wasn't at work here? Their letter made it appear that the fault was apparently mine. That's SOP when a government operation is compromised: blame the target.

So maybe they didn't actually check the blog, but simply saw a copy of a letter I sent to a media colleague. A fast reading of that email could have led them to that erroneous conclusion. Yet, all it would have taken was one click to reach the URL so they could see for themselves.

Or, maybe they were covering for someone by making it seem that I was deliberately switching the Hindi transliteration function on and off to create the appearance of a bug.

The latest wrinkle: when I hit "publish," an error banner appears saying the post can't be published, though there are no highlights marking specific errors, such as bad html tags. So I am forced quite frequently to hit publish twice. I read this as a statement from the hackers: You can't get rid of us; more games are in store.

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