Sneak is well aware of the debate about the right time to announce software flaws, given how hackers might exploit the information. Some say it is best to know if you’re vulnerable even if a patch is unavailable, so that you might pay extra attention to affected systems. Others say early disclosure of even the smallest flaw simply gives hackers a heads-up. But Sneak was not aware until recently that the timing debate affected entire planets. Apparently California-based astronomer Mike Brown was rushed into the recent announcement of a tenth planet orbiting the sun after hearing that hackers had sniffed over his data. Not yet certain of his facts but fearing that script kiddies might grab his limelight, Brown went public – only to learn that the supposed hackers had actually viewed only publicly available telescope logs.
Sadly the news will only galvanise a certain breed of geek - who believe that everything up there can be found out by looking in the right place down here - typified by 39-year-old Briton Gary McKinnon, who stands accused of hacking into 97 US government computers between February 2001 and March 2002. He allegedly undertook his attacks to prove that that the US military is covering up the existence of UFOs.
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