Colonie website compromised

Town’s site down for days, source of problem unclear

— The Town of Colonie’s website has been down since Friday, Nov. 16, and town officials aren’t sure when it might return.

The website, at www.colonie.org, is rented through a Time Warner Cable web server and the problem remains a mystery to the town and Time Warner, though officials said it was corrupted by an outside source.

“Time Warner Cable has not yet been able to pinpoint where, when or how the site was compromised,” Town of Colonie spokeswoman Sara Wiest said. “They informed us it was a form of malware, though we have protection.”

The site is what Wiest called a “static site,” which only posts information about the town, including board meetings, agendas and minutes. Contact information for town officials is also listed on the site.

“Anyone who wanted to come to the site for information is temporarily out of luck, but they can still call the town and get information,” Wiest said.

Wiest said the town’s website doesn’t deal with anything like tax bills or internal documents, but rather just hosts public information. All of the information is still safe, she said and Time Warner was able to clean its server, restore the files and now the files can be re-uploaded.

Lisa Travis, director of Management Information Services, said it’s not “uncommon to have issues,” especially when it’s not your server.

“There was one other malicious incident. I want to say it was some obscene words on one of our pages … over eight or 10 years ago. It was just something we had to take care,” Travis said. “Many instances, it’s almost impossible to trace it back to someone. I think the technology is getting much better in terms of where the traffic is originating. Most of the time you never find out.”

While this compromise is probably the result of a virus, Travis said she doesn’t know why someone would want to hack the site because it “isn’t very exciting.”

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