When it comes to how to conduct yourself on the Internet, some things are okay to do, some not okay.
File this one under “not okay.”
A reader on The Washington Post’s website made some lively posts in the comments section of a story concerning the Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability, which has had consumers, companies,Internet security experts, and a slew of other stakeholders scrambling to protect themselves from the data encryption flaw.
“I couldn’t give a flying fig about the Heartbleed thingamajig,” said the reader. He then asked other commenters if it was made by Russian crackers, Seattle high schoolers, the NSA, or “Yahoo’s marketing department,” oddly.
While it’s safe to assume that many people are concerned about the threat that Heartbleed poses, this one particular reader was anything but — even going so far as posting two of his online account passwords for other commenters to read, imploring people to take his account passwords and use them as they saw fit.
“Sneak into my WaPo, NYT or CNN accounts and go crazy making comments in my name,” the unidentified man said. “Break into my Facebook or Twitter profiles and change my hometown to Gas City Indiana, swap-out my avatar with a picture of your nads, make friends with people I don’t know.”
Someone took the man up on his offer, and before long, his Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress accounts were accessed and used by people other than him. Though it has been reported that the man’s accounts were “hacked,” we don’t think the term applies here considering that it doesn’t take a cyber criminal to use accounts that are tied to publicly posted passwords.
The man later regretted his actions, posting the following on his personal WordPress blog.
“OK, perhaps putting my password on a national news site is not so good. I actually posted my password… on a national news site, as well as bragging that my doors were open.”
We can only hope that this man has learned some valuable lessons about Internet data security.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.