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The GOP Convention Hacked!

The Republican National Convention has been hacked by security researchers. This despite the fact that the GOP keeps hammering Hillary Clinton about the insecurity of her private email server.

How did they do it? In this case, it was amazingly simple. They simply set up some WiFi access points. You know the same thing that most of us have done when we set up wireless access for our homes. For fun, they gave those access points names like “Google Starbucks”, “Trump free Wifi”, and even “Hillary Free Wifi”.

Of course, more than 1,200 people attending the convention connected to those WiFi access points. But the bad part is that of those who connected, 68% of them did so with no security in place, leaving their personal information completely exposed. So it would be trivial for anyone to access their “online bank accounts, emails, dating and messaging apps, even ‘Pokemon Go’.” Those people didn’t use encryption, or virtual private networks, or any of the common techniques of protecting your data when connecting to a public shared WiFi network.

Meanwhile, the convention itself is fending off hacking attacks from Asia and Russia. Indeed, the GOP convention was described as “a bulls-eye for hackers”. But no amount of security deployed by the GOP can protect someone who connects to a network that is not under their control. And without any security on their device, they are totally exposed.



  1. Ralph wrote:

    IK – I’m sure you appreciate this is not only an RNC/GOP or Hillary problem, but one in general for our digital economy. I suspect the DNC event will present an equally rich target for hackers. A recent 60-minutes piece profiled the ease by which hackers can break into ostensibly “secure” networks by any number of nefarious methods, often similar to the one you describe. And yet internet security always seems to take a back seat to other, more interesting and profitable developments on the web.

    Whenever you swipe or present a debit or credit card to a vendor, or use an unsecured wifi, you are invariably exposed to hackers and fraud. It’s happened to me a couple times just in the past few years, fortunately relatively easily resolved in my case (I am resolving one now as I type). Even worse, we’ve all heard the horror stories of people whose ID has been stolen and the nightmare it can be for months and even years before being resolved.

    Hopefully, it doesn’t take a major event of hackers breaking into major utility grids or gov’t defense and security systems for this issue to be taken much more seriously. It’s my understanding that many of these systems basically run on a Windows platform not much different from the average consumer laptop. The possibilities are not only costly, but potentially deadly.

    Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Yeah, I’ve worked on computer security. Of course it is a general problem. But it is ironic because the Republicans pretend to be concerned about computer security, but only as much as it allows them to attack Hillary Clinton.

    Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    well let’s be realistic IK, there is difference between hacking a convention with only party secrets and the order of speakers with the Ses State who is 3rd in line to be President should something unthinkable happen.

    Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink
  4. Linda LeBrun wrote:

    Patriotsgt: I’m pretty sure Secretary of State is not third in line to the presidency. The Speaker of the House is. Wasn’t it John Boehner at the time?

    Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink
  5. Ralph wrote:

    Right, SoS is 4th in line. Easy enough to find on wiki.

    Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink
  6. Jonah wrote:

    Republicans are only worried about computer security. If a republican gets a blow job and then proceeds to spill state secrets voluntarily to the giver of the BJ thats perfectly ok!

    Friday, July 22, 2016 at 5:05 am | Permalink