Saturday, June 14, 2008
Good folks, this article recently ran in my local newspaper:
Councilmembers reported strange computer behavior
By Ben Szobody
County Councilman Joe Dill said Thursday that his county-issued laptop computer began operating sluggishly after Councilman Tony Trout put files on it during a County Council meeting, and that county IT staff subsequently found a computer worm on the machine.
Dill is among three council members who say their computers have been acting strangely and who have turned them over to be checked by the FBI. Council members say they are unsure whether their problems are related.
Dill said he was sitting in a council meeting when Trout said, "I’ve got something here I need to put on your machine."
"I said, ‘OK, here,’ " Dill said, adding that Trout put icons on his screen that linked to council rules and other folders. After the computer slowed to a crawl, he said the county staff found a worm and had to remove it.
Trout could not be reached for comment.
Councilwoman Judy Gilstrap said she uses four computers, but that for a long time Trout didn’t include her on frequent e-mails to county officials. Recently, she started receiving them again.
"Unfortunately, I opened those e-mails," Gilstrap said, adding that her machines have been giving her trouble.
Councilman Fred Payne said Thursday he primarily uses his home computer to access his county account, and that his wife told him earlier this week that it stopped working, and wouldn’t let her log on.
Council members Butch Kirven, Xanthene Norris, Lottie Gibson, Willis Meadows, Cort Flint, Jim Burns and Bob Taylor said Thursday they’ve seen no signs of trouble on their machines. Sid Cates could not be reached.
"I wouldn’t care, I ain’t got nothing on my computer that can’t be public information," Gibson said.
Subsequent articles have uncovered spyware secretly installed on one particular county councilman's computer that bypassed GOVERNMENT firewalls and anti-virus software. The County Council Chairman responsible was referred to in the paper as having the following stance:
"Trout declined to comment to the local newspaper but told WYFF-TV that he accessed information from Kernell’s computer and sent it to the state Attorney General’s Office. Trout told the station that the access was legal because Kernell is his employee."
Here's my reaction *mouth drops, speechless; looking for the April Fool's link"
I really, really can't believe that this kind of thing goes on in MY hometown. This is some Enemy of the State shyt for ya. In this case, I'm getting cheated because Will Smith is not the main character.
What is God's name would give someone the unmitigated GALL to secretly install spyware on someone Else's computer? This spyware recorded key strokes (to gain access to passwords as the user typed it in) and gave access to download information from one computer to another! Yes, I'm aware that COMPANIES reserve the right to access all employee work computers but in this case, the company (our city gubment that is) did not act to access an employee computer, an INDIVIDUAL did. Rather you had probable cause to monitor or not, there is a right and a wrong way to gain access to information. The spyware was installed in such a way that it sent emails to other council members that accessed their work accounts from work and home so yep, you guessed it, people's home computers were compromised as well!
This man clearly crossed the line. Clearly. He had been advised by lawyers to decline comments but he has complained that this news broke on the eve of elections when voters would be persuaded by this story to vote for someone else. Duh!
Whether this was politically motivated or not, wrong is wrong. There is an IT department set up for this very kind of thing. Also, if you're the boss, you should've handled any concerns of your employee in your yearly review. It is above and beyond your duties to personally spy on another individual. That kind of stuff should be handled at the discretion of a committee so you'll have several opinions, several level headed people and BACKUP when shyt hits the fan!! He could've been given admin rights to all computers as an alternative to this. But then again, he didn't have admin rights for a reason...
Now this man is facing all of litigation and heat ALONE which is what he deserves for trying to be James Bond. He should've taken a lesson from Sean Connery, even the real BOND had folks helping him. He didn't get all of his gadgets on his own!
Until next time... Don't use clue words like George Bush, secret spy, conspiracy theory, and secret intelligence while on the phone. You may get a knock on the door from Jason Bourne coming to save you from the enemy...