[cite as: F. Bi. 2009. Did a system administrator just save the world? Intl. J. Inact., 2:106–107]
At around 6.20am (EST) Nov 17th, somebody hacked into the RC server from an IP address associated with a computer somewhere in Turkey, disabled access from the legitimate users, and uploaded a file FOIA.zip to our [RealClimate] server. They then created a draft post that would have been posted announcing the data to the world that was identical in content of the comment posted on The Air Vent later that day.
Now think for a moment what would’ve happened if the attack on RealClimate had succeeded. There would’ve been a blog post, ostensibly written by mainstream climate scientists, announcing that the global warming theory is a hoax and they’re finally going to Tell All. The real climate scientists would’ve been unable to reply, being shut out of their own blogs, while the ‘climate scientist’ attacker could start fielding questions from a confused public — and make them even more confused. And if the attacker could maintain this state of affairs long enough to last till Copenhagen, it can really turn the climate talks into a total train wreck the likes of which we can’t even imagine.
But none of this happened. The so-called “ClimateGate” or “SwiftHack” is now nothing more than a huge load of hot air. All thanks to one system administrator who was able to spot the attack, and promptly regain control of the web server.
* * *
And in case anyone missed this: our friendly climate inactivists Steve McIntyre and Jeff Id are saying that the CRU cyber-attacker’s comments on their blogs came from the IP addresses 126.96.36.199 (Russia) and 188.8.131.52 (Saudi Arabia). Jeff’s ‘deductions’ from these bits of information, however, are nonsense:
Then we have the release of the info from proxy servers in less than friendly countries. This is not unsophisticated and made me think of a government agency first. Someone with resources and knowledge. Who’s going to be able get a proxy link from Russia, Saudi Arabia or Turkey and which proxy sent the email to those? They knew what they were doing. […]
It all seems to me like a whistle blower who got ticked that FOIA was ignored (illegally). Perhaps someone who heard the conversations between Phil Jones and the Govt. officials.
No, Jeff, unless you’re saying that system administrators working in a climate science department have the same kind of information as people working alongside Jack Bauer breaking into terrorist networks.
(Then again, if what McIntyre and Id say are true, they may actually lend some support to the Daily Mail‘s theory that the CRU crack was the work of foreign intelligence agents. Or not. Ugh, are we confused enough yet?)