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|