Hacker breaks into secretary of state's site

CARSON CITY - The state attorney general's office is trying to figure out who hacked into the secretary of state's Internet website.

Secretary of State Dean Heller said the office's web page was shut down for five hours Nov. 22. He said the home page was defaced but there was no permanent damage.

Heller said the identity of the hacker may never be known. The illegal entry was discovered while the individual was still in the system. And in an exchange of e-mail, the only clue to the identity of the individual was the statement, ''I love Las Vegas.''

Since then, the office has been working to shut down any ''back doors'' that allow unauthorized people into the system.

Beau Pankiw, information technology coordinator in Heller's office, said the hacker ''had to come in through the state firewall,'' which was developed by the state Department of Information Technology, a security system to keep people from outside the system making unauthorized entry.

But Marlene Lockard, the state's director of information technology, said it is ''highly unlikely'' any outsider penetrated the state's firewall. She believes it was an ''inside job'' - somebody in state government who was able to find a weakness in the secretary of state's own system.

Pankiw said he believes the website intruder was ''a friendly hacker, not malicious.'' The ''friendly'' hacker, Pankiw said, wants to expose weaknesses in a system - show that the manufacturer isn't as good as he thinks.


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