Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Thursday, October 04, 2007

GSA "FEMAs" California

Life on the Internet can be fragile, as California learned yesterday. While taking counter-measures against a hacker re-directing traffic from a state county's website to a porn website, the U.S. General Services Administration deleted California - virtually.

For seven hours, the entire ".ca" domain -- home to every government agency in California -- was gone. A flick of a a switch and ... No web access. No email. No California.

It started with the discovery that the website for Transportation Authority of Marin Country was hacked, and all traffic we sent to pornographic websites. The fear that its DNS server had been compromised, and could thus compromise the entire ".ca" domain apparently led the GSA to make California disappear entirely -- or more technically de-list ".ca" making it in accessible from servers worldwide.

As more public services become web-delivered, the need for reliable 24/7 access is obvious. Maybe a little more attention needs to be paid to disaster recovery by governments as they pursue e-government.

Who needs an earthquake when you have GSA? Maybe we should get FEMA to take over the ".gov" domain management.

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