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Federal Government Inadvertently Deleted Ca.Gov 195

Posted by samzenpus
from the did-you-need-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Network World reader whose brother works for a California state agency forwarded me an e-mail alert that his brother received: "The Department of Technology Services (DTS) has notified us that the Federal Government inadvertently deleted the CA.GOV domain. As the evening progresses you may experience an impact in your ability to access some Web sites and exchange e-mail. DTS is working with their federal counterparts to restore service as quickly as possible but service may not be restored until tomorrow morning.""
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Federal Government Inadvertently Deleted Ca.Gov

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  • by cez (539085) * <(moc.yadretseygn ... sih) (ta) (ofni)> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:18PM (#20845513) Homepage

    "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," Hanacek told me this afternoon. 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 ca.gov and they made a change at a much more global level than probably was necessary and it started taking down all of our ca.gov domain," says Hanacek. "That impacted Web access and e-mail services."


    Damn... all this because someone pointed their IP surveillance camera at the nude beach across the street.

  • by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:18PM (#20845521) Homepage
    The Department of Technology Services (DTS) has notified us that the Federal Government inadvertently deleted the CA.GOV domain.

    That's not a mistake, someone just put FEMA's earthquake-recovery plan into action a little bit early.
  • Simple to fix? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jfroot (455025) <darmok@tanagra.ca> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:21PM (#20845547) Homepage
    Can they not just:

    # scp bkuser@backupserver:/etc/bind/zones/gov.ca.zonefile /etc/bind/zones
    # service named reload

    voila!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cez (539085) *
      doesn't sound like they deleted it to me, more like they routed it to nowhere, and propagated that route across the network and root DNS servers...
      • Re:Simple to fix? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert@chromabl[ ]net ['ue.' in gap]> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @09:10PM (#20845967)
        How do you "route" a domain name? Sure you can point the authoritive NS's to some black hole, but that's easily enough reversed. DNS changes don't 'propagate' upstream. They can be cached downstream, but nothing irrevocable, and there's no route to propagate. "ca.gov" is not a AS network.
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by cez (539085) *
          Depends on the point of entry into where the domain is hosted. "Sure you can point the authoritive NS's to some black hole", as the hacker did to point them to porn, goatse is a black hole. But seeing as how they took out more than just web servers, static routes could be propagated through the arp tables of core routers causing oblivion to where the Name Servers results are sending requests...


          I don't know exactly how what happened, but obviously they didn't handle it well.

        • by v1 (525388)
          that's probably the problem. It probably went several hours before anyone noticed it got blackholed and fixed it, and by that time it had flowed downstream and tanked quite a few lower level DNS's. That's why they said the problem won't be fixed until tomorrow, because that's what it will take for the tanked DNS's caches to expire and them to refresh from their authority.
        • by arivanov (12034)
          www.ca.gov IN A 127.0.0.1
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      ssh: backupserver: Name or service not known
      lost connection
    • by arcade (16638)
      They probably did.

      Then it's a matter of TTL and caching nameservers. From TF slashdot summary:

      "As the evening progresses you may experience an impact in your ability to access some Web sites and exchange e-mail. DTS is working with their federal counterparts to restore service as quickly as possible but service may not be restored until tomorrow morning."

      My guess is that a poor system administrator was unfortunate with 'dd', reloading the zones, not discovering it until the complaints started pouring in -
  • by dws90 (1063948) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:21PM (#20845551)
    Shortly after this story broke, it was announced that Federal Offices were raided by an Austrian Cyborg who repeatedly shouted "My domain will be back!". The identity of the intruder is currently under investigation.
  • Ooops. (Score:5, Funny)

    by conlaw (983784) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:24PM (#20845571)
    At least the Feds don't have to worry about Iraq, Iran, et al. for the next few days. They've probably upset The Terminator and, as we all know, he'll be back.
  • Terrorists .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snoggeramus (945056) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:25PM (#20845583)
    Terrorists we can handle. What really scares is an attack of the stupids.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by petsounds (593538)
      What do you mean? We are besieged by them every day! They have infiltrated the highest levels of our government and the lowest levels of bureaucracy. We live in dangerous times, my friend.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Thaelon (250687)
      The term you're looking for is weaponized stupidity. Remember it. Use it. Enjoy it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by serge587 (1038264)
      Humanity has been under siege since its inception.
    • Personally, I'm a bit more afraid of the idea that the people in charge at the moment aren't stupid at all.

      George Bush may be (or at least appear to be) a bumbling idiot, but the people working directly for him are most certainly not. That scares the crap out of me.
  • Why wait? (Score:5, Funny)

    by amccaf1 (813772) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:27PM (#20845605)
    I see the federal government isn't waiting around for the San Andreas Fault do to its work... they're cutting California free now!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by PPH (736903)
      After the 'Big One', everything east of the San Andreas fault is going to slide into the Atlantic Ocean.
      • by daeg (828071)
        At least it includes Florida. We can't even count pieces of paper right.
  • by nebaz (453974) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:28PM (#20845607)
    It's not like anyone else it using it?
  • If only... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by feepness (543479) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:31PM (#20845649) Homepage
    If only these idiots were running more of my life.
    • If only these idiots were running more of my life.

      Given California is easily the biggest nannystate in the union, if you live there- you've already got your wish.

    • by fm6 (162816)
      Before everybody gets all snickery about government incompetence, remember that the private sector has its moments [theregister.co.uk] too.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by feepness (543479)
        Microsoft doesn't put me in jail if I don't buy their product.
        • by fm6 (162816)
          Yes they do [microsoft.com].
          • by feepness (543479)
            Alright, let me rephrase that "Microsoft won't put me in jail if I don't buy and use their product."
            • by fm6 (162816)
              OK, and so what? What does the power of arrest have to do with network management competence?
              • by feepness (543479)
                It defines the difference between private and public sector incompetence after you conflated the two. Private sector competence can (generally) be avoided and sometimes lead to extinction of the incompetent company. Public sector incompetence is supported under threat of arrest.
                • by fm6 (162816)

                  Private sector competence can (generally) be avoided and sometimes lead to extinction of the incompetent company.

                  Microsoft (which forgot to renew major domains twice would seem to be immune from this rule.

                  Public sector incompetence is supported under threat of arrest.

                  So who's been arrested in connection with the ca.gov snafu?

                  I guess the faulty assumption I've been attacking is that government bureaucrats tend to be less competent than private-sector bureaucrats. In fact. bureaucratic ineptitude is more s

                  • by feepness (543479)

                    I guess the faulty assumption I've been attacking is that government bureaucrats tend to be less competent than private-sector bureaucrats. In fact. bureaucratic ineptitude is more strongly related to the size of the organization than to the type of organization. As the corporate lackey of a major player in the computer hardware business, I speak from personal experience.

                    I would absolutely agree.

                    My point is that I'm not forced to use Microsoft's product. I don't use hotmail so their outages are irrelevant to me.

                    On the other hand, the outage of ca.gov affects anyone with a car that wants to use the DMV.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:33PM (#20845659) Homepage Journal
    Dick Cheney didn't want anyone to know that California actually exists(and if people cannot know about it, then their congressmen go away) so he arbitrarily declared it to be top secret.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by fm6 (162816)
      What you just reported is also top secret. That makes you a spy. Please wait for the DHS agents to come and arrest you.
  • No wonder! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sweet 'n sour (595166) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:48PM (#20845799)
    I was attempting to do some research at the California DMV web site yesterday and kept getting 404's. Google cache to the rescue. Maybe they can rebuild from that alone!
    • by ShaunC (203807)
      If you were getting 404s, you were actually hitting a server, so you were seeing something other than the DNS outage. Probably a coincidence.
  • by zukinux (1094199) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @08:49PM (#20845803) Homepage Journal
    but it kind of looked the same. California, drug addict site, what's the difference?
  • The real news is that the federal government is going to allow California to succeed from the Union, part of that preparation is deleting the domain name.
    • by emurphy42 (631808) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @09:57PM (#20846399) Homepage
      "As for immigration, solving that came at a heavy cost, and I personally regret the loss of California. However, the new Mexifornian economy is strong and El Presidente Schwarzenegger is doing a great job."
  • Pardon, eh? I saw the typo of 'ca.gov' and corrected it to 'gov.ca' and the next thing I knew the terminator kicked the door down, eh...
  • Would this have happened if they voted Republican? It's not really a joke since Bush has snubbed California ever since the 2000 election.
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      This is too low level of a mistake to put petty politics into it. And it doesn't gain anyone anything in the process.

      And BTW, norther California tends to be highly conservative in their voting. This is how such great people like Ronald Reagan and Arnold were elected governors. This is also why Californian's say the conspiracy to split electoral votes based on the popular vote is a republican scheme to get elected while in other states it is touted as a way to stop republicans from getting all the votes and
      • by orcrist (16312)

        This is too low level of a mistake to put petty politics into it. And it doesn't gain anyone anything in the process.

        Good point.

        And BTW, norther California tends to be highly conservative in their voting. This is how such great people like Ronald Reagan and Arnold were elected governors.

        What? Do you mean the northern California where like 5% of the population lives? I'm not sure of the exact number, but since the 'population center' of California is near Bakersfield it must be pretty small. The voters who h

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          What? Do you mean the northern California where like 5% of the population lives? I'm not sure of the exact number, but since the 'population center' of California is near Bakersfield it must be pretty small. The voters who helped get Arnie elected weren't even the conservative ones and as for Reagan, you might as well be talking about a different state, since California had all of 15 Million residents when he was elected vs. 37 Million now.

          Lol.. No I mean norther California where over 35% of their popula

  • It's back... (Score:3, Informative)

    by rdwald (831442) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @09:45PM (#20846283)
    Is it just me, or does http://www.ca.gov/ [ca.gov] still work? I mean, I just went there and got a page reading "Welcome to the State of California." I guess this problem's already been resolved.
    • Some DNS caches may still take a while to purge incorrect data.
      • by kimvette (919543)
        Nope, seems to be working. I don't use my ISP's dns; I run bind locally.
        • But did you query their DNS while it was broken? Yeah it's probably filtered out by now, my point was merely that *some* dns servers *may* have whatever incorrect information was previously broken.
  • Someone should email the governor and complain!

    ---

    (If you don't get the joke, look up his email address some time when you're not too busy.)
  • by knuth (6137) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @11:42PM (#20847399) Homepage

    Maybe they got confused and thought Canadians wre infiltrating the U.S. federal government. What if, horrors, they were separatist Freedom [wikipedia.org] Canadians?

  • I keep thinking of that scene in Ghostbusters when they shut the containment field down...

    I think of the city engineer as compared to the poor network admin they got to do this.

  • California should be using state.ca.us anyway--then they wouldn't have had a problem. .gov is intended for the U.S. federal government.

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