A photo accidentally revealed a password for Hawaii’s emergency agency

In the aftermath of an erroneous missile warning that terrified Hawaiians on Saturday (Jan. 13), the state’s emergency management agency has come under increased scrutiny, from the poor design of the software that enables alerts to a particularly slapdash security measure by one of its employees.

Old photos from the Associated Press inside the agency’s office appear to show an unspecified password on a yellow Post-It note, stuck to a computer monitor. The image, which shows operations manger Jeffrey Wong standing in front of the computer, was taken in July and appeared in articles published at the time about the agency’s preparedness in the face of a nuclear threat.

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The conspicuous Post-It. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher)

The agency verified that the password is indeed real but wouldn’t go into specifics on what program the password was supposed to be used for.

Local news outlet Hawaii News Now reported:

Richard Rapoza, emergency management agency spokesman, confirmed that the password is authentic and was actually used for an “internal application.”

He said he didn’t believe that application is any longer in use, but declined to say what application the password was for.

“It wasn’t for any major piece of software,” he said, while also acknowledging that it’s not a good idea to have a password in plain sight, especially with news cameras around.

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