Yes, that is a password stuck to a screen at Hawaii's emergency management HQ

Updated: Jan. 16, 2018 at 2:40 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's tough to be at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency right now.

There are mounting questions about Saturday's false ballistic missile alert, from why it took so long to send out a correction to the rudimentary look of the interface used to send the message to all Hawaii phones.

And now, sharp Internet users have noticed something worrisome in an Associated Press photo from July at the agency's headquarters at Diamond Head: A Post-It note stuck on a computer at the facility bearing a password.

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.

Rapoza added that the password debacle isn't the most outlandish issue he's had to tackle this week — false alerts aside.

The agency is also trying to debunk an internet conspiracy that the missile alert was actually real, and that Hawaii is for some reason trying to cover it up.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," he said. "People need to be careful what they read on the internet."

Oh, and Rapoza is also fielding lots of questions about that retro-looking interface used to send the missile alert.

[A line and a single word separated the test missile alert from the real one]

The world got its first glimpse of the interface Monday, and many questioned its design. One line and a single word — drill — separated the real alert from a test, which was the one that was supposed to go out.

Rapoza said improving the interface will be part of an investigation into how to prevent a future false alarm.

But, he added, the interface is actually based on FEMA best practices. And in designing it, the agency's vendor had to balance false alarm prevention with ensuring that an alarm can go out quickly when there's no time to spare.

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