Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ooops: DC Feds Delete CA.Gov In Response to Hackers

Let's call this one Stupid and Stupider. A hacker apparently hijacked a California government's website, sending those seeking Transportation Authority information to a porno website. Confusing enough if you, say, wanted to learn rules about getting it transported and instead wound up with XXXX-rated getting it on, no rules applied.

So the feds stepped in. Apparently, someone simply deleted an entire domain. OK, out with the porno hacker. Ooops, we tossed the baby, the bathtub, and the entire house out with the bathwater.

As TechDirt noted, the problem escalated when frantic California officials tried to get the problem resolved before Eastern time zone workers headed home.

Even the government shudders when someone says they're from the government and they're here to help.

Case in point: A hacker's diversion of traffic from a California county government Web site to a porn purveyor spiraled into IT chaos yesterday after a countermeasure applied from Washington essentially "deleted the domain."

Order was restored only after seven hours of frenzied coast-to-coast communications and a "forced propagation" of network systems, according to Jim Hanacek, public information officer for the California Department of Technology Services.

"We don't for sure have the whole picture, but as we understand it, there was some event at the Transportation Authority of Marin Country where their site got hacked," Hanacek told me this afternoon. Traffic was being redirected from that site to one featuring pornography.

A department within the U.S. General Services Administration in Washington oversees and polices the .gov domain.

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