As hacks go, this must be the ultimate example – a TV anchorman has been accused of hacking his colleague at a Philadelphia TV station. And they say regional US TV news is normally about as interesting as dog laxative.

The interesting bit is how he did it. Consider this another warning from the front line.

KYW-TV frontman Larry Mendte is reported to have used a physical keylogging device to hack into the email account of co-host and rival, Alycia Lane, on an alleged 537 occasions . The motive was to pass possibly embarrassing gossip on Lane’s private life to a newspaper.

Assuming the reports are accurate:

1. Why didn’t the security guys notice something was amiss or weren’t they looking for such a device on an internal PC? Nor did the security systems installed on Lane’s PC notice anything going on, even though the device must have been communicating within the network or to a host outside it.

2. The keylogger used is reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer to have been one of the easily-available hardware devices that can be bought off the internet for well shy of $100. Remotely-planted keylogger Trojans are the bane of the security admin, but few worry much about these devices, despite the fact that they are everywhere, are cheap, and planting one is a trivial exercise for someone bent on an internal hack. Working out who planted one would be night on impossible, which increases their attraction.

3. Can anything detect such devices? A full-blown port monitoring endpoint system, perhaps, but few companies have one of those.

Schadenfreude isn’t an emotion that normally comes over on TV, especially the denatured airless world of US TV reporting. But just watch rival anchors try it for size.