The Community College of Denver doesn't worry too much about admission standards. Just about any potential student who wants to take a class there knows that he can probably get in. Unfortunately, that same approach seems to have been taken by computer hackers. CCD's home page, at ccd.rightchoice.org, has been hacked twice in the last month by two separate hackers -- and, as of yet, the school hasn't figured out how it was done. "I think that the initial one led to this one, because these folks talk to one another," says Ken Price, CCD's director of information technology. "Between the two hacks, we tightened the security, but evidently we didn't go far enough. The first one seemed to be an individual. This most recent one looked like a group."
Price doesn't think the cyber-crooks targeted CCD for any specific reason other than that the site was vulnerable and "because they can." He adds that whoever broke in was only able to replace the home page with a hacker page and that the "break-ins didn't interfere with students' ability to take courses or register. All the links were still there. Some of our students realized that and were able to go to sub-links.
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"I did a search for anything that might have been changed or modified on or around the time they accessed us," Price continues, adding that no confidential student information, such as Social Security numbers, was ever at risk of being taken. This despite the bold admonition left behind by the second group of hackers on August 20, which read, "You make laws for us to break and secure your data for us to take." It was signed "HoH Project," or the "Hackers of Hell."
Speaking of hacks, former-Globe reporter turned tabloid apologist and substitute teacher Jeffrey Scott Shapiro may or may not be working at the Journal News, a daily paper in Westchester, New York. Shapiro, as you'll recall, covered the JonBenét Ramsey story until he was arrested for harassing friends of John and Patsy Ramsey and then fired by the Globe. Robert Masterson, a reporter for the Westchester County Weekly, says the byline rang a bell when he first saw it, so he decided to find out whether the Globe's J.S.S. and the Journal News's J.S.S. were one and the same.
"Seems simple enough: a 'yes' or 'no' answer to a direct question," Masterson writes in an August 24 article in the Weekly. "However, the Jeffrey Scott Shapiro who writes for the Journal News would not speak on the record and would neither confirm nor deny that he is the same Jeffrey Scott Shapiro who worked the Ramsey murder for the Globe." Shapiro's editor wouldn't talk to Masterson about it, either.
Guess we'll have to wait for the polygraph.