Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Joe Lieberman's Website Woes

Joe Lieberman's campaign is apparently still accusing Lamont of somehow being responsible for hijacking his website.
"We call on Ned Lamont to make an unqualified statement denouncing this kind of dirty campaign trick and to demand whoever is responsible to cease and desist immediately," Smith said in a statement. "Any attempt to suppress voter participation and undermine the voting process on Election Day is deplorable and has no place in our democracy."
The latest version of their accusation seems to be of a denial of service attack:
"This statement is to confirm that the suspension of displaying the Web site www.joe2006.com was not due to to an overdue account. Friends of Joe Lieberman is completely paid in full. The screen that showed yesterday is a default image from the server," the Lieberman campaign said Tuesday in a statement.

"In order to isolate where the denial of service attack was coming into the site, we disabled it as rapidly as possible. Once we were able to isolate all the site files for study, we were able to add an appropriate one-page maintenance message."
Except throughout this "attack" people were able to access the website and see an error message. It gives me no confidence in the Lieberman campaign staff, or their accusations of sabotage, that they seem to think that their website is served from a magic box which can only fail in the event of the malicious acts of others. They also seem to believe that only a political opponent would target a high-profile website in a manner likely to grab headlines.... A savvy opponent would not do this on the eve of a primary.

Here's another lesson for political campaigns - particularly major or national campaigns - set up your servers to automatically refresh site content on a regular basis (e..g, every half-hour) such that no vandalism of the site itself will last long, even when responsible staff members are busy with other matters or are asleep. Consider setting up a separate SMTP server to handle mail. Implement frequent automated backups of any areas of the site which are regularly updated, to prevent or at least minimize data loss. This is basic stuff, which is why even I know it....

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