Calif. Web Shutdown Could Have Been Avoided

Security software firm Sunbelt said Thursday that it had attempted to warn California officials of a hack on one of its sites long before the state shut down entirely.

In a post to the company Web log Wednesday, Sunbelt's Alex Eckelberry said the company had warned the state as early as September 11, but the government ignored its warnings,


According to an article in the Marin Independent Journal, the Marin County government -- whose site had been hacked -- didn't believe the e-mail warnings it was receiving from security firms, thinking they were phishing attacks.

However, the firm said it had also left voicemails with the government, which would have verified the reports they were receiving via e-mail.

The hack was directing people on the site to phishing sites filled with malware and pornography. Several of the e-mails also included examples, but they never reached those who could do anything about it.

On Wednesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered a complete shutdown of the state's entire Web site as well as e-mail systems while the hack was fixed. Eckelberry said this was not necessary, considering it only affected one site.

However, he had a message for people who receive these warnings. "It's a wake up call: Keep your site clean," he wrote. "And for pete's sake, please heed the warnings of security researchers when they send you email."

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