10:30 am Update: According to Clarke County Information Services Director Gordon Russell, Clarke County’s website was down for several hours after its primary Domain Name Server failed due to power outage.
“When it came back up it fell back to an older config entry ( “A” record) for www.clarkecounty.gov and clarkecounty.gov entries” Russell said. “Secondary nameservers had picked up the obsolete entries last night, so they too were pointing to an incorrect IP address for the domain names. DNS names that resolve incorrectly are often redirected to “aggregator” pages, which is what was appearing this morning.”
Visitors to the Clarke County website on Monday morning may not have found exactly what they were looking for. Instead of the standard information sources about County government, including the official Clarke County government activity calendar where public notice for upcoming meetings is posted, site visitors are being presented with a generic website that does not contain Clarke County government information.
A quick check of the WHOIS database, the site that tracks ownership of domain listings, reflects a change as of this morning. According to the WHOIS website, ClarkeCounty.gov’s last WHOIS database: change was “Mon, 31 Oct 2011 11:05:14 UTC “.
Earlier this year the City of Winchester, Virginia’s website was “hacked” several times.The city’s website was compromised by hackers through a security breach that hacker websites say may have been open for years. In the Winchester case, a “spam” link appeared in keyword searches for “Winchester” that linked back to a page under the WinchesterVA.gov domain. The spam page directed links to external pages attempting to sell software.
Government websites not only provide standard information about government business, they also provide critical information links between citizens and leaders during emergency situations.
Clarke County government officials were not available for comment as of 7:30am Monday morning.