Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Rick Perry isn't exactly a stranger when it comes to arrogantly blaming others for his mistakes."

DoS Attack Rains on Texas Gov Internet Parade

computer glitch


By Kevin Parrish
Tom's Guide
Copyright 2009

Recently Texas Governor Rick Perry kicked off his 2010 re-election campaign, and even arranged for an online rally scheduled for yesterday at 11:30 a.m. Central time. Billed as "Talkin' Texas," supporters were asked to visit the website and participate in the 10-minute rally, however, according to Perry staff members, hackers rained on the governor's online parade by kicking off a campaign of their own: a denial-of-service attack.

“Today’s ‘Talkin' Texas’ webcast by Gov. Perry was deliberately interrupted by a denial-of-service attack, preventing countless users from logging in to view the Governor’s remarks," said Gov. Perry Spokesman Mark Miner. "This planned and coordinated attack was political sabotage, and we are working to identify those responsible for this illegal activity. Before the attack was initiated, more than 22,000 users were able to log in and view Gov. Perry’s complete remarks, which will be distributed shortly.”

Local Austin news studio KXAN painted a different picture of the situation however, reporting that the problem didn't resemble a successful DDoS attack. Instead, the reporters pulled up an error reading "unable to connect to database server." Unlike slow or inaccessible connections experienced with DDoS attacks, IDF News explained that the database error can occur using the Drupal content-management platform.

With that said, it's possible that the website administrators knew the supposed attack was merely a database problem, and that the campaign simply spun the news to gain nationwide attention. If that is indeed the case, then the plan worked, and it was simply politics as usual.

© 2009 Tom's Guide: www.tomsguide.com

Perry's online campaign event hit by technical glitches


Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Copyright 2009


Gov. Rick Perry was "Talkin’ Texas" on Tuesday, but a lot of supporters weren’t able to hear the governor’s highly touted online campaign event.

Perry’s staff said the webcast, during which the governor touted Texas’ economic strength, was hacked and countless people were unable to view it.

Those able to log on saw Perry standing in a Holt-Caterpillar plant in San Antonio, flanked by workers, talking about Texas and his aspirations for another term as governor.

He spoke of personally signing two state budgets that cut general revenue spending and improving education and security within the state. And he spoke of improvements he’d like to see — including giving Texans a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to increase taxes, making a small-business tax cut permanent, creating penalties for Texas employers who "knowingly" hire illegal immigrants, and ridding the state of unnecessary laws and rules that "stifle Texas entrepreneurs."

"The challenges facing Texas are real, and they demand experienced executive leadership," Perry said. "I am convinced we need to keep moving forward with Texas values and proven leadership." He criticized Democratic-led spending in Washington, saying it is "building a mountain of debt our children and grandchildren will have to pay." But he noted that, as far as the economy is concerned, "Texas is a safe harbor [in] this economic storm" and said that "together, we will lead our nation out of this tough spot and keep Texas strong."

Perry’s campaign said more than 20,000 people logged on to see the webcast.

A spokesman for his chief challenger, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, had only one comment. "Clearly Rick Perry should have spent less paying off supporters and more on technology," Joe Pounder said. Dozens of comments were left on Perry’s site after the webcast.

Among the comments: "Proud to have him, proud to keep him" from Jillene Norris; "No change needed in the leadership of our Texas — vote for Perry?" from K Kowalski; "You’ll have my vote," from CindyNTexas64; and "I’m going to go spread the word," from Gibrill Mustapha.

Perry will likely face several candidates in the Republican primary in March, including Hutchison; Debra Medina, a businesswoman from Wharton; and Larry Kilgore of Mansfield.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates include former Ambassador Tom Schieffer of Fort Worth, humorist and entertainer Kinky Friedman, East Texas rancher Hank Gilbert, Fort Worth teacher Felix Alvarado and Garland therapist Mark Thompson.

ANNA M. TINSLEY, 817-390-7610

© 2009 Fort Worth Star-Telegram: www.star-telegram.com

Barbs fly after Gov. Rick Perry's webcast speech is short-circuited


The Dallas Morning News
Copyright 2009

AUSTIN – If a politician makes campaign promises on a live webcast that goes down, does he make a sound?

Gov. Rick Perry arrives at the Holt Caterpillar plant to deliver a Web address. As he was to begin, the campaign's server overloaded and had to be taken offline.

For Gov. Rick Perry, there was a definite thud Tuesday. And once out of the woods, the Perry campaign attributed the disruption to a planned Internet attack.

For several days, the Perry campaign promoted a live Web address that the governor was to deliver from the Holt Caterpillar plant in San Antonio. It was suggested that this was akin to a kickoff for his campaign for a third full term.

But just as the Republican was to begin speaking, the campaign's server was overloaded and had to be taken offline, disconnecting about 22,000 viewers. Some users were able to view the speech with no trouble.

Perry spokesman Mark Miner attributed the disruption to a denial-of-service attack, in which servers are deliberately bombarded with requests for data.

"This planned and coordinated attack was political sabotage, and we are working to identify those responsible for this illegal activity," Miner said.

He declined to name any suspects, but the inference was as clear as a tree falling in the woods.

GOP rival Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign said it was in no way involved.

"What an embarrassing campaign launch," said Hutchison spokeswoman Jennifer Baker. "I'm sure the governor is hacked, but we are skeptical their site was. After all, Rick Perry isn't exactly a stranger when it comes to arrogantly blaming others for his mistakes."

Redglue Inc., which operates the Perry campaign Web site, said the server was "completely capable" of handling the traffic. Redglue president Anthony Kukla said a flood of false requests inundated the server about 11:20 a.m., and his company shut down the link and restarted the site – a process that took about 10 minutes.

"This is very easy to create. Thirteen-year-olds get caught breaking down the White House Web site," Kukla said.

He said he is certain the attack was intentional, not a glitch.

Keatron Evans, an expert at the Illinois-based computer security firm Infosec, said automated devices are available to launch such attacks. The Perry Web site's security measures would have made it a little more difficult, but someone with limited expertise could have pulled off such a ploy, he said.

Tracking such attacks is expensive and time-consuming, and the perpetrator is often hard to find, Evans said.

And of course, another explanation could be that "the server might not have been able to handle the load that was coming in," he said.

Phillip Martin, the social media strategist for the Texas Democratic Trust, which helps fund the state party, said such a well-coordinated attack against a Web site would be unusual because of the timing and sophistication.

Besides, he said, taking a swipe at both GOP camps, "If it were Kay Bailey Hutchison's team that hacked this, it would be the first competent thing they've accomplished."

In his speech, the governor proposed a constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes and reversed an earlier position, saying he now favors criminal sanctions against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

© 2009 Dallas Morning News: www.dallasnews.com

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