With all the technology that California is famous for, you would think their government websites were state of the art, when it comes to security.
Apparently, this is NOT the case. The result has been a lot of misdirection to sites of a pornographic nature.
Alex Eckelberry, CEO of Sunbelt Software, has been blogging on this subject:
Yesterday, we reported on a federal shutdown of â€œca.govâ€ sites to fix a hack.
Well, we have a little more information on this. It was the Marin County government website that started all of this â€” something we reported back in September 12th.
Does anyone besides me wonder if there wasn’t much of a sense of urgency on this issue?
Bezhou Feng at Neowin.net reported that:
The shutdown, initiated by the General Services Administration (GSA), a US agency in charge of all top-level “.gov” domains, began at roughly 4:00PM (PST), quickly turning into such a problem that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger even considered calling the President himself.
While the porn aspect is either amusing, or disgusting (depending on your viewpoint) — this clearly shows that .gov sites should wake up and listen when experts are trying to tell them something is wrong.
After all, this type of activity could have been something far more serious than something that is disgusting, or amusing!
Of note, as of this writing, I ran a search on Google and the Marin site (TAM) is still misdirecting users to a number of pretty nasty porn sites.
As I’ve written before — exercise extreme caution when clicking on porn sites, they often make your computer come down with a virus (or worse)– especially if “safe surfing practices” aren’t being used.
Sunbelt blog post, here.
Neowin.net story, here.
Update 10/09/07: Alex Eckelberry (Sunbelt), who has covered this problem for over a month did (what I consider) an amusing post to follow-up on this one, here.
Alex and his team at Sunbelt are my favorite place to learn about computer security issues. They routinely help a lot of people free-of-charge and are experts in what they do.