Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hack strikes government websites in Napa, other Bay Area cities in 2014

Hack strikes government websites in Napa, other Bay Area cities

December 2, 2014
A global cyberattack Monday shut down web access to agendas, minutes and video for numerous Bay Area government agencies, including the city of Napa.
The San Francisco-based company Granicus, which provides web services for government agencies nationwide, reported the outage just before noon Monday.
The company posted updates on the outage on its website, reporting that it was caused by a globally distributed denial of service attack, where a system is overloaded with connections from different systems on its name server vendor.
Granicus’ downtime appears to be related to an attack that affected DNSimple, a Florida-based company that reported on its website it was “overwhelmed” by the voluminous attack despite measures in place to deal with such attacks.
The attack affected systems worldwide, according to DNSimple.
Napa city spokesman Barry Martin described reports that users attempting to enter the city website, cityofnapa.org, were instead redirected to pharmaceutical spam sites.
“I first was made aware of it a week ago, but it seemed to be user error and not a hack,” he said Tuesday.” So we started looking into it and couldn’t find evidence of a problem on our site. Gradually more people asked what was going on, so we had to take a look at it.”
Early Tuesday morning, Granicus reported the problems had been resolved. In a letter to clients, it said the outages “appeared to be intermittent, with some people seeing no issues and others seeing some or all services as being down.”
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While the city continues to investigate the website problems, Martin advised users to clear their browser caches and to access cityofnapa.org directly, and not through existing browser bookmarks or search sites.
Other Granicus clients in the Bay Area include the California Public Utilities Commission, Alameda County, and the cities of San Francisco, Pinole, Monterey, Cupertino, Martinez, Walnut Creek, Petaluma, Lafayette, Fairfax and Belmont.
Editor's Note: Shortly after the news about SolEd Benefit Corporation losing a contract due to non performance with the city of St. Helena became public on 12/19/2015, the St Helena video of the meeting was blocked.  Coincidence?  A similar attack was carried out in 2014.  I understand these denial of service attacks are quick easy to do.  If the site was hacked,  who would benefit from silencing the truth?  

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