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Thursday 4 October 2007

Look behind you

This rather puts the relationship between local government and Whitehall in context.

In California, Tuesday, one keystroke action by a Washington D.C. bureaucrat deleted every Californian government website, the entire domain, for eight hours.

"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," says Jim Hanacek, public information officer for the California Department of Technology Services. 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.

"The federal government saw this incorrect use of and they made a change at a much more global level than probably was necessary and it started taking down all of our domain. That impacted Web access and e-mail services."

"Unfortunately there was no prior notification, they just made the change and sent us an e-mail to one of our administrators who wouldn't be a normal contact," Hanacek says.

"Once that person saw the e-mail and started looking we determined how serious this could be and we opened our emergency operations center. Unfortunately that was about 3 in the afternoon and folks back East were already going home, so it took us some time to get hold of the right people in the General Services Administration to get this address reinstated."

Those corrections began between 4 and 5 p.m. PT but didn't restore full normalcy until about 7:30 p.m.

Hanacek indicated that California's IT people will be having a chat with their Washington counterparts: "We'll certainly be discussing how we should be notified of a change of this magnitude."

Love to be a fly on the wall at that one.

1 comment:

  1. Hysterical! I think we're quite benign compared to that.