LDS Young Men

Is Someone Trying to Hack President Monson’s Teleprompter?

Posted in Weird by ldsym on October 8, 2008

OK, this is really weird, but I am wondering if someone is trying to mess up President Monson’s Teleprompter.   I certainly hope not.  I have to assume Church IT Security takes that stuff pretty seriously, and has it well protected.

So why am I wondering about this? I’ll explain — WordPress has a feature where the administrative dashboard displays the search terms that were used by people who landed at your blog.   I check it on occasion and not surprisingly the most popular searches that deposit people on LDS-YM.com  are “2009 Young Men theme”, “Mutual Activities”, “LDS Youth Activities”.    For some reason a lot of folks search “altoids”, and they end up here.   There must not be a lot of other sites mentioning the minty treats, so they end up here based on the post that mentioned they are a girl getter in Wisconsin.

So anyway, the Monday after General Conference someone searched the words: “Monson Teleprompter Hacked Priesthood Conference“.   That search presumably led them to this blog because of the post on how to you use your Laptop as a teleprompter and regular mention of President Monson.  So that leaves the question: Why would someone search for that?   It is very specific, almost like someone expected some sort of teleprompter issue during the Priesthood session, and wanted to see if it was mentioned in any news or blog coverage.  WordPress provides no info on the dashboard on who searched or any other info about the search, just that someone searched those words  (I am sure Google knows, they know everything, but it is unavailable on WordPress Dashboard).

I didn’t notice any issues with the teleprompter for Conference.   Keep in mind, if there were some sort of nefarious attack on the prompter it would in the Church’s best interest to not publicize it, so short of something very noticeable, I doubt anyone in the general public would ever know about any problems.

By the way, I know nothing about the specific teleprompter at the Conference Center, but have some professional experience with Teleprompters in general.   For an application like the Conference Center there is no necessity to have the prompter hooked up to the Internet, or any other network for that matter.   You can just load talks off a thumbdrive,  so it would not be hard to secure it against hackers who do not have physical access to the system.   I am not going to lose sleep over it, I am sure Dehlin’s digital Danites have it well under control

Update: after I posted this I was curious, so I did some research and found a bit of info on the teleprompter at the Conference Center.   This article is about the unique glass plate that they project the words onto.   The screen is 35 feet away from the speaker, and it 5 feet wide.  There is no mention in the article about the computer that runs the system.

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