Feds Accidentally Turn Off California Gov't Websites

from the sorry-about-that dept

Every once in a while you hear stories of companies having problems with their domain names, often because someone forgot to re-register the domain name or possibly because of a routing problem. However, you don’t really expect that to happen to a government website. However, after a California county agency had its gov’t website hacked, the feds back in Washington DC accidentally turned off all of the ca.gov domain, causing quite a bit of confusion among California state gov’t employees. It gets even better. Apparently, it happened around noon Pacific Time which is 3pm back on the east coast. Yet, as the article notes: “Unfortunately that was about 3 in the afternoon and folks back East were already going home, so it took us some time to get hold of the right people in the General Service Administration to get this address reinstated.” Sure, I can understand time zone differences… but 3pm isn’t exactly quitting time. Must be great to be a government employee, huh? Shut down an entire state government’s email and web domains without realizing it… and head out the door by 3pm.

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Comments on “Feds Accidentally Turn Off California Gov't Websites”

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Boost says:

Re: Government Employees

I’m impressed…seems like all of the government offices around Illinois aren’t open till after I have to get to work and are nearly closed by the time I get off of work. Not to mention the fact that they get every holiday under the sun off. I’m suprised they’re not off for Budhist holidays yet.

Jeremy says:

Government Employees

I get in to work at my government job at 0630 EST. So I’m going home at 3:00pm as well. The stereotype of “lazy government employee” doesn’t fly in the the agency which employs me. In fact, a common dream around here is to get over to the private sector so we can get some time sitting on our asses. Point being that no matter which side of the fence you’re on, you always have those pointing their fingers to others and how lazy they are and touting their own industriousness.

Govt. weenie says:

DC Traffic

People who don’t live in the DC area don’t really understand how the workday functions around here. It’s not unusual for staff to begin arriving at 6AM. However, the issue here is a lack of training and coverage. More than one person should have been able to fix this problem and one of them should be in the office during the entire business day.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: East Coast Hours

> If you’re on the East coast and supporting
> customers nationwide, working 6am-3pm is
> selfish and lazy.

What an idiotic comment to make. According to your logic, a government employee on the East Coast should work seventeen-hour days– from 6 AM all the way through 11 PM every day– which would be when the government offices in Honolulu close. And if they don’t put in those 17 hours, they’re selfish and lazy, right?

Boost says:

Re: Re: East Coast Hours

No, but if your office closes at 3:00 PM then you can only support Honolulu for 1 hour. However, if you worked until 6 or 7 at night then you could support them 3 or 4 more hours. I don’t know about you, but in the private sector they have these things called 2nd and 3rd shifts. 2nd shift doesn’t come in until 3:00 PM and 3rd at 11:00 at night. I know, it sounds crazy but it actually works pretty well and allows you to support your industry around the clock.

Vance says:

Govt Employees

Govt. Weenie is correct. I work for the government in Northern Virginia and some of our folks are in at 6:00 AM and out at 2:30 PM. Some of them have long commutes and a few have second jobs. The other comment about training is also correct. GSA should have someone who knows how to cover the .gov and .state domains 7x24x365. My guess is they can’t afford that kind of coverage.

John Duncan Yoyo says:

Re: Govt Employees

Any one working in the DC area can tell you the horrors of a DC morning commute if you are much later than 7am and the afternoon commute is no fun after about 2:30. DC is fighting it’s way up the bad commute list to right behind LA.

There should be support by telecommuters or the regular workers who are home already. Much of the work on these computer jobs can be done from anywhere with a fast connection and a computer.

Pat says:

Government hours

Yeah, I heard all the excuses about starting before dawn therefore able to vanish by mid-afternoon….but I’ll bet it’s like the doctor’s offices where, instead of staggering lunch hours so there is someone to man the phones, etc, everyone leaves from noon to one…certainly shows how much care to customers/patients/whatever is involved there, doesn’t it? And those industrious government offices, if they have any interaction with the public, shouldn’t feel the least bit justified in closing down the office at least two hours before the rest of the world…you know, just in the outside chance there needs to be contact made? Saying nothing about the inept decision to shut down the entire state of California before heading out – in the middle of the afternoon – which is what 3:00 actually is, all excuses aside.

Overcast says:

Well, the government agency I used to work for had 2 or 3 good Fed workers in IT. The rest, when they were even in (They get like 6 months paid leave if they can come up with a medical excuse), were sleeping in their offices.

The funny part was, one of the ‘LAN Admins’ that worked for the government actually insisted she fix a problem on a workstation. After 15 minutes, she finally figured out the user couldn’t print, because, well – no printers were set up on the machine. It took – and I kid you not – 30 minutes for her to figure out how to add a printer to the workstation from the Netware print queue.

I suspected all the workstation needed was a reboot, actually.. lol

But I do admit, some of them were really good at what they did, but I only mean *some*. The majority didn’t have a clue.

ChronoFish (user link) says:

DC Traffic/culture

I no longer live in the DC area, but one of the things that I found really surprising is just how busy, young, and hard-working it is.

Think about it this way: There are four types of people in DC: 1. Those in power. 2. Those who want to be in power. 3. Those who have been forgotten by those in power. 4. Everyone else

Those in #1 are what we see on TV. This is where the “Government workers are lazy” come from. As these people realize that now that they are in power – they are powerless.

Those who fall in #2 bring a no-holds-bar work ethic that is basically 24-hour “life is work” mentality. It is a young crowd, they tend to get paid a lot of money (The DC area pays quite well), they are transients (they are only in the DC area for 2-8 years of their life) are often lawyers, business analysts, and technology workers, and they are competing to be the next leaders of their (government, business, industry, etc). They also tend to wear a lot ties (even the tech workers). To a certain extent, regardless of political association, the image of “young republicans” fits them well. We’re not talking 90’s play-money of the dot-com era, we’re talking the excess of the 80’s “Wallstreet”.

#3 Are the permanent residence of DC. The irony is that the belt-way that all of this country’s social leadership uses to get to work by-passes some of the most horrific slums in America. It is not uncommon to see burned-out row houses just block away from the White House. And if you plan your route right – you never have to acknowledge their existence.

#4 Makes up everyone else. Those that support #1 and #2. Some are a bit of #2 and some are a bit of #3. It is #2 and #4 that clog the beltway.

Like Las Vegas, DC never sleeps. But unlike Las Vegas it’s all about work rather than all about play. Most cities take a breather on the weekends. Even New York City obeys the laws of rush “hour”. But on a Saturday afternoon in Washington DC you will encounter bumper-to-bumper, stop and go traffic (though to be honest, the downtown area at 8am on a Saturday morning will be like a ghost town).

It’s a sight to behold. If you lived it, you to would flex your time to get out of Dodge by 4pm.


BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: DC Traffic/culture

> It is not uncommon to see burned-out row
> houses just block away from the White House.

Actually it’s not only uncommon, it doesn’t exist. There are no burned-out row houses or burned-out anything else just a block away from the White House. The blocks surrounding the White House are prime real estate and anything that isn’t already held by the government is home to very well-heeled law firms and lobbying firms.

Javarod says:

Actually according to this article I read earlier (http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/10/04/domain/index.php), this was no mistake. Apparently a domain on the government server (not ca.gov) had been hacked. After months of dealing with their ISP they finally moved their domain over to the .gov server. The GSA apparently assumed that the .ca.gov server’d been hacked based on porn redirects on that one domain and decided to turn it off without warning. Someone jumped the gun on that one, no? Is this the model of the upcoming government healthcare plan? If the patient gets a hangnail, kill them so it won’t spread?

Bryan Price (user link) says:

7 years ago when I worked in state government

trying to get my department on the internet, I was told that .gov was reserved for Federal government only. Ohio.gov was grandfathered in, but we had to be com.state.oh.us. That has evidently changed, since http://www.com.ohio.gov works now. And http://www.com.state.oh.us works as well. Gee, maybe it’s time to send an email to some of my old buddies and see if it bounces or not! :/

jason says:

oh come on...

is the writer / summarizer of this article unable to read? it quite clearly says that they discovered the problem at 3pm pacific, which would be 6pm eastern. between this and the new zune article where techdirt proclaims that bill gates is the CEO, i am losing faith in this site actually knowing their collective asses from holes in the ground. you are reporting on technology stuff — at least know what you’re talking about, please! simple math confuses you, company titles are meaningless…. anything else i should know so i can remove this site from my RSS feed once and for all?

Kyle says:

Very very interesting

I live about 15 minutes outside of dc and have been in this area just over two years out of college. My company can’t hire enough people to work on our projects because we require security clearances and minimum experiences to qualify as billing categories in the contracts. It is true about being an entirely work driven city, I get called late at night and on the weekend about my project and the sky if falling every other day, but I get paid very well. The entire economy around here is government or in support of government. Mainly government contracting is where all the money is.

Anonymous Coward says:

>> If you’re on the East coast and supporting
>> customers nationwide, working 6am-3pm is
>> selfish and lazy.

>What an idiotic comment to make. According to your logic, a government >employee on the East Coast should work seventeen-hour days– from 6 AM >all the way through 11 PM every day– which would be when the >government offices in Honolulu close. And if they don’t put in those 17 >hours, they’re selfish and lazy, right?

Hah it’s a joke BTR1701! Maybe what he meant to say is when you are working for people 3 hrs behind your time zone, starting work at 6am isn’t really necessary. But what do I know, I don’t work for the gov’t.

Steven Ashley (user link) says:

Government I.T. Security Procedures

I really have to wonder what the Government I.T. Security procedures are, after this latest gaff. Isn’t the first rule of administrating anything in I.T., before making a change, make a backup copy in case you screw up whatever your changing. And the second rule, know how to restore from your backup.

The Fed employee evidently did not know one of those rules since the reason it took 7 hours to recover, because it happened at the end of a work day, it took that long to find someone who knew how to recover from the error.

Last week, in response to news of Chinese hackers had broken into Defense Department computers, I said:

The U.S. Government needs to wakeup the severity of the security problems we are currently having and be made aware just how terrible they could get. Then government needs to get serious in mandating information security protocols on sensitive material both public and private.

Until they do, I know I’m going to sleep a little less secure at night, how about you?

How much worse to these accidents need to get, than taking down all the governments websites of the countries largest state, and no, I’m still not sleeping very well.

Niftyswell says:

The problem IS location

There are several problems but gov’t bloat has to be one of the biggest. Why does everything have to be in the DC area to begin with? It pushes up taxpayer cost because homes, transportation, and services are in such demand that it spirals up and up. Then there is the general attitude in the area that the government exists only to serve itself…so far removed from the rest of the country and the time zone reinforces that view.

When I worked for the government many quality people did not want to advance because they did not want to put up with the DC area nonsense as detailed above. Now that I am in the public sector I understand that a raise is not a right, that performance has to be measured by the bottom line, and that from time to time we have to tighten our belts to meet the budget. My first year working for the feds we were faced with having to spend additional money in order to ensure our budget for the following year even if it meant breaking stuff.(no kidding) My hesitation at playing the ‘game’ probably lost me my job even though I had high performance reviews- I was told to seek employment elsewhere without any explanation by Office of Personnel Management… I was unsuccessful at trying to whistle blow because my congressman and woman each from a different party both told me that the other party was responsible for the way things work in government.

In the private sector it is all about making stuff last as long as possible in order to not have stuff impact the budget and possibly our jobs or salaries. Government is completely oblivious of that- I believe you could cut our government in half and it would probably improve response, effectiveness, and taxes.

Most people have no idea how much of government exists just to manage itself soaking up tax dollars that never reach the intended purpose. They also have no idea that many of the people employed by government are there because they could not qualify for a job in the private sector. It is a horrible place for a motivated person to try and work…when everyone gets the same raise regardless of how hard they work. Why even bother to try any harder when the guy in the cube over leaves 2 hours early every day and gets the same raise and pay as you do?

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