Officials Probe Lieberman Web Site Crash

By PAT EATON-ROBB
The Associated Press
Thursday, August 10, 2006; 9:06 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. -- U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman's campaign Web site remained offline Thursday, and federal and state authorities were investigating why it crashed on the eve of this week's defeat in a high-profile primary.

The site, Joe2006.com, appeared to have suffered from a so-called "denial of service" attack, in which computers overwhelm a site with fake traffic, preventing real visitors from getting through or, in this case, causing it to crash, said Richard M. Smith, an Internet security consultant in Brookline, Mass.

Lieberman said the outage is hindering efforts to raise campaign money.

"But of course that's the world we live in, that anybody, anywhere in the world, if able to, can hack into another site anywhere else in the world," Lieberman said Thursday while visiting Waterbury.

The Lieberman campaign denied speculation among liberal Web pundits that the centrist Democrat's Web site had simply crashed because it used a low-budget Web host unable to handle the volume.

Web hosting can cost anywhere from a few dollars a month for a personal Web site to thousands of dollars for large corporate sites.

The campaign spends about $100 to $150 a month on Web hosting services with MyHostCamp, said Dan Geary, who administers the site for the campaign. Geary said that MyHostCamp, which is owned by a friend of Geary's, gave the site more than enough bandwidth _ 200 gigabytes a month _ to handle a crush of visitors.

He said an analysis of the server suggested an attack that focused on specific components of the Web site such as internal files and e-mail.

But Smith said that even if there's enough capacity, as important is the amount of security it has to keep intruders out.

"There are measures that can be implemented to protect against this type of attack," Smith said. "I think they went a little cheap here. This kind of looked like a low-budget hosting service."

Geary insists security was adequate, saying MyHostCamp's servers are monitored by a larger company, Server Matrix, and administered by a major Web hosting company, The Planet.

"Was it the greatest security ever? Well it just got hacked so, no," Geary said. "But we had industry-standard security. We could stop bows and arrows and bullets, but not a tank, and that's what this attack was."


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