Monday, November 11, 2013

Define Hacking

The Singapore Police Force (SPF)'s explanation maintains that a photo is circulating online, showing that the SPF website has been "hacked". The photoshopped image apparently is deemed offensive, and the SPF is asking you not to circulate the photo any further. Somebody had to ask the obvious: If the SPF website was not "hacked" are we to presume that the "inappropriate image" was placed there by the SPF Web Administrator?

The confusion comes about because the Information Development Authority (IDA) is screaming blue in the face: The prime minister's office website was compromised, not hacked! The distinction is crucial to some party's career plans because, as pointed out by IDA's Assistant Chief Executive James Kang, the cross-site scripting vulnerability was not protected by a security patch which had been released earlier. The patch is now being applied across all government websites, an obvious effort to close the barn door after the horse has bolted. Let's hope some $2 company won't be paid $130 million for off-the-shelf software.

To split hairs over "compromise" and "hack" is tantamount to straining at gnats and swallowing camels. In computer security context, a hacker is someone who seeks and exploits weaknesses in a computer system or network - such as inserting script into the Google search bar. Some are even paid big bucks to hone their craft. Within the computing community, the primary meaning of hacker is a complimentary, not pejorative, label for a particularly brilliant programmer or technical expert. For instance Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, is admired by many to be a true hacker.

The situation gets worse when political animals play loose and fancy with words. Who can ever forget George Yeo's "an integrated resort is not a casino" blatant lie? Did we have a bus strike or was it absence from work without a medical chit? Did someone give away $4 billion to the IMF, or was it just a "pledge"? Then there are the guys who supposedly complete their national service obligation of bearing arms to defend our real estate by serving in a laboratory and "saving babies' lives" at a hospital. Next they will be telling you Chia Thye Poh's 32 year incarceration was an extended sabbatical to mull over the definition of "communist". A wise man once asked, if you don't say what you mean, how can you mean what you say?

Case in point, S R Nathan was conferred the Order of Temasek for "exemplary" service to the nation at last night's National Day Awards Investiture. Now, is that meant to be a model example of a "Jiak Liao Bee", collecting millions annually for doing nothing productive but "eating up all the rice"?
"Compromised" image left at the Istana website

31 comments:

  1. Ha! ha! like that stretch : "...Chia Thye Poh's 32 year incarceration was an extended sabbatical to mull over the definition of "communist".. wonderful spin.. the White house could not do better!

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  2. Like you said, IDA MD Jacqueline Poh is the PAP's blue-eyed girl. They can't afford to have her tarnished in this episode, despite her obvious incompetence.

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    Replies
    1. You saying a senior civil servant is a card carrying member of a political party? IF true, then how does the embrace of politics and civil service must have deepened into something more profound.

      Anyway, Chiak Liao Bee would suit her too: oxford PPE, MBA Insead, the perfect example of the pen pushing rats infesting the ivory tower of the admin service.

      Delete
  3. Singapore is unique
    in that it has lots of
    weird talents.

    patriot

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cluelessness and self-delusion are the most common traits of these "talents".

      Delete
  4. Let's call a spade a spade and NOT play with word.

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  5. Hey, thanks. I was curious what's the image. Thanks for showing it. Real class act by the hacker. It is indeed a great day to be Singaporean today. :)

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    Replies
    1. A picture is worth a thousand words and of course action always speaks louder than words.
      I hope the hacker save his/her best for Xmas, new year's day, LKY's and son's birthday... ^__^

      Delete
  6. I just notice the query string on the URL is a div element with style and maybe a background attribute pointing back to another URL which host the image of the Ah Ma. Actually not really a hack on the site but a hack on self which anyone can do when the query string in the search function is not properly escaped.

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  7. Great article, Tattler ! Examples plentiful of our coverment twisting the English Language, Grammar to their convenience. Sadly, it seem that learned members of our society had been drilled in very different English classes using The New English of the PAP..... !

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  8. A screenshot of a hacked page does not prove anything. It's extremely easy to do that on your own machine. See:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asnd9fMKRwk

    The modified contents can only be seen on your computer. All other users accessing the website will see the original unchanged contents.

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  9. Tattler, you forgot the most prominent one: "not flooding, ponding!"

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    Replies
    1. Also , Its not U-turn, its a rethink -Yeo Cheo Tong

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  10. yes. it is a standard trick from them.

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  11. The Darjah Utamah Temasek. A case of adding salt to injury? "Recipients of the Order are entitled to place the post nominals DUT(x) after their names, with (x) being the grade of the Order awarded." DUH.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darjah_Utama_Temasek

    How about the 1st Class Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun, a long overdue award.......

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Rising_Sun

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    Replies
    1. Order of PAP
      1st Class Jiak Liao Bee

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    2. 1st Class Penjilat

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  12. Tattler, I enjoy your posts. You write current day issues with a humurous and sarcastic touch. Are you Art Buchwald reborned?

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    Replies
    1. secret admirer...11/11/2013 8:58 PM

      Ah...yes! Art Buchwald... always looked forward to reading his column.. entertaining and sharp.. missed his works.. but we have Tatler! great stuff.. keep it coming!

      Delete
  13. The Order of Temasek picture was really too much to bear. I can think of hundreds of ordinary people who have given exemplary service to the nation under difficult and even hazardous conditions who will never be known. Seriously, depressing is too mild a word.

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    Replies
    1. I was just wondering what exactly has he contributed in those 12 years at Istana to deserve this award except amassing a few millions from taxpayers every year.
      Maybe, the award is for being compliant so the Govt work was so much easier, unlike his predecessor

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    2. eh, GDP growth? must have spent some of those $4m pa, llollar non?
      visit any of parking lots of ministries where the ah tow's reserved lots are not hidden from public, many nice cars and a few u neber thot shud be there (maybe infront of hyatt or ritz hotels yes, but garmen ministries?

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    3. Would awarding him the Order of PAP be too inappropriate?

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    4. Hilarious. It makes a mockery of the award. To think that it was recommended by the PM and given away by the incumbent Jiak Liao Bee. Clowns all, and paid millions.

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  14. Collecting millions of Sin Dollar per year eating pratas and puthu mayam. Shaking hands with foreigners and high class women.
    Whui, the guy must be a god's son.
    Maybe he should be deified soon.

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    Replies
    1. In Singapore;
      To be approved by PAP;
      It means you are deified already

      Delete
  15. I don't buy this thing about Anonymous. It seems to me that is was a staged incident, to divert attention of real problems, a type of waving the flag, a boost to the govt image. Base on the reaction it seems have to worked.

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    Replies
    1. Just like the Wayang @ Queenstown put up for Prince William's viewing pleasure?

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete