Posted by Tim Ireland
April 7th, 2009
[Note - the website now featured at technicaladvisoryboard.org.uk is NSFW]
Let’s set aside the Mail’s repeated attempts to use this new non-story to breathe new live into an old non-story, and focus instead on the main deception in this article:
Now, the Guardian is reporting via a PA item that the Home Office originally thought/claimed this to be the work of ‘hackers’, but as early as 5pm yesterday, the BBC were reporting that; “The Home Office said that the site it was linking to had become defunct and been bought by a different company”… but the peeps at the Mail appear to be disregarding this new information entirely. For some reason.
Let’s have a peek at key moments within this article, last updated at 12:14 AM on 07th April 2009:
But it was a computer hacker rather than Miss Smith’s husband who was up to no good with pornography yesterday. – (source)
No it wasn’t. It was an opportunist, and nothing more.
The cyber-intruder managed to hijack a link which had been placed on the Home Office’s website to an information page run by the Government’s Technical Advisory Board, to provide information about the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism. – (source)
No, they didn’t. They ‘hijacked’ a website that the Home Office linked to, but at no stage did they fiddle with the link on the Home Office website or any other part of the Home Office website…
CAPTION: Not so safe: A link on the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism sent a user to a Japanese porn site – (source)
… not that this stops the Mail from suggesting otherwise.
Instead of information about new EU surveillance powers, visitors were greeted with some hardcore Japanese pornography. The Home Office has removed the link, and ordered an investigation. The pornographic hack comes during a sleazier-than-usual week for the government… – (source)
It’s not a hack. No-one was hacked. The security of the Home Office website was not compromised at any stage, and the website of the Technical Advisory Board wasn’t ‘hacked’, either. Website ‘hacks’ are rarely so thorough that they impact on the registration of the domain name:
| Domain name:
| Registrant’s address:
| chuou-ku matuyamati 9-20 None
| Key-Systems GmbH [Tag = KEY-SYSTEMS-DE]
| URL: http://www.Key-Systems.net
| Relevant dates:
| Registered on: 07-Feb-2009
| Renewal date: 07-Feb-2011
The domain name was not renewed for some reason, an opportunist swooped in and bought it, and it was used (along with a whole bunch of other lapsed domain names) to promote pornography when other parties (including the Home Office) were still linking to the now-outdated URL in good faith.
A Home Office spokesman stressed that the site infiltrated by hackers was external and not hosted by the government. He said: ‘There was a link on the page that said Technical Advisory Board website, but when you clicked on the link it took you to the porn. ‘We were notified this morning and removed the link immediately.’ – (source)
“Infiltrated by hackers”…? There was no infiltration. And for the last time; there were no hackers! And at no stage did anyone have private sexy-time with the Home Office website. But for some reason that’s not the impression that many Mail readers get from this article; fully half of the comments deemed fit for publication by the Mail (18 of 36 at present) are based mainly if not entirely on the false claim that the Home Office site was ‘hacked’, making this a perfect example of the reinforcing nature of these little fibs the Mail insists on:
If the Government and Security Services can’t put simple constraints in place to prevent hackers entering the Home Secretary’s website, what hope do we have in regard to their management of our data? Thankfully although embarrassing, the only damage was to the lady’s ego. Interesting that the IT department had to be made aware by the vigilant media – nice to know someone’s actually awake! – Alison, Cardiff, 6/4/2009 20:31
Can someone ask Ms Whiplash who, in the Liebour Government, has the keys to Britains Nuclear Deterent!! – tim, UK, 6/4/2009 20:32
Office for SECURITY and COUNTER TERRORISM Welcome to the SECURITY website Hahahaha. This must be the most incompetent government in the history of Britian. – Peter Hastings, Folkestone Kent, 6/4/2009 20:32
I couldn’t stop laughing……just how incompetant and amateurish this ‘government’ really is. And these idiots want to set up an ID card data base…….lol. – Mickey V, Manchester UK, 6/4/2009 20:54
If our governments chosen IT staff and departments can’t even protect their own website how can we expect them to safe guard our personal data. Bunch of inept fools yet again – jack, cheshire, 6/4/2009 21:20
And yet, we place so much emphasis on the internet, internet, internet banking, and the digital revolution, even though we have no control over any of it. – Dave K, Leeds, YUK, 6/4/2009 21:31
THis just goes to prove how useless the government are with technology! It is scary to think they want to hold information about us all in a data base, we will all be stolen and be replaced by crooks, or has that already happened with the government? Makes you wonder. – Nigel, Somerset, 6/4/2009 22:20
right so if hackers can get into the home office website …just how safe will all the NHS petient records be…or their ID card mega computer. – john, leicester, 6/4/2009 22:42
Try assuring us now that child databases, ID cards, e-borders and all the other government databases will be secure from hackers! Somehow it will have a very hollow ring to it when they can’t even protect their own websites. Truth is we can’t trust this government with anything at all as they demonstrate incompetence on a daily basis. – Bewarned, Monmouth, UK, 6/4/2009 23:19
And this is the same department that wants to keep all our personal information on its secure files, i think not at this rate our government computer systems seem to be the most user friendly for anyone wanting to hack into – chico, hinckley, 6/4/2009 23:41
What a laugh! The hacker has excellent sense of humour! – Mike, Scotland, 7/4/2009 0:12
Yet more proof (like we needed more) that our Gov can’t manage an IT project. But still they expect us to trust them with our personal info in their illegal databases – Barry, woking, 7/4/2009 0:28
The Home Office can’t prevent Hackers getting into their Web Site, yet they want to collect all our DNA, Fingerprints and Personal details of every man, woman & child in the country and put it on a National Identity Data Base and issue us with an ID Card, their logic here, supposed to be to protect us from Identity Fraud. Aye, right – Lizzie M., Alexandria, UK., 7/4/2009 1:42
It would seem that the whole department is unfit for purpose. Another Inquiry will do little to make the good people of Britain feel any safer. The whole system needs to be taken back to how it was when this bunch of incompetents took over and start again. The country would be better served without any Home Office at all at the moment.At least then we would have no illusions to shatter. A Spring clean of draconian proportions is needed right now. Not another tax payer funded whitewash and business as usual. Jacqui Smith must be dropped onto her sword it would seem before she will resign.So be it. – Michael Henry, Dalian,China, 7/4/2009 2:01
This highlights an astounding weakness in security that must alarm all UK nationals. If the UK government cannot prevent a simple hacking such as this, then to what extent may we depend on the value and effectiveness of ANY of our defence activities? This is shocking to the nth degree, requires immediate action and an explanation to the UK public re HOW it happened. – Billie Carmichael, Lancs., 7/4/2009 4:05
And if government websites aren’t secure, just how secure will the data they want to hold on the national database be? – Mark R, Coventry UK, 7/4/2009 4:59
And these idiots want us all to have ID cards on which all the data will be safe. – james, brighton uk, 7/4/2009 6:58
it has been seen that anything this so called government touches and this woman in particular, that has anything to do with technology/data and the internet goes very badly wrong, there is no way they can be trusted with our details either in respect of medical records or id cards, brown and her need to go but quickly. – Bryan Caffyn ex pat, Mazarron, Spain, 7/4/2009 7:35
The security of everything from personal data to the security codes for our nuclear missiles is called into question on the basis of the Home Office linking to a URL that now points to a new location. There’ll be riots in the streets when they find out that Ofcom and Parliament websites link to the same URL.
Meanwhile, it my sad duty to inform all Daily Mail readers that the Daily Mail website has been hacked, and the Daily Mail and General Trust can no longer be trusted to offer you hyperlinks or handle your sensitive data.