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U.S. Shuts Down 84,000 Websites By Mistake

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 3 comments

The U.S. government accidentally shut down over 80,000 websites while in the process of shutting down domains related to child porn and counterfeit goods.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice and Homeland Securities Office set out to seize domains believed to be involved in child pornography and counterfeit goods. Unfortunately, the operation didn’t exactly go off without a hitch as 87,000 domain owners were faced with this message on Friday:



TorrentFreak reports that one of the targeted domains actually belonged to a DNS provider, which was why so many innocent people were faced with ‘the banner’ on Friday.

Torrent Freak:

“As with previous seizures, ICE convinced a District Court judge to sign a seizure warrant, and then contacted the domain registries to point the domains in question to a server that hosts the warning message. However, somewhere in this process a mistake was made and as a result the domain of a large DNS service provider was seized.”


Things were finally fixed by Sunday, but having such a warning appear on your website for any length of time can be harmful to one’s credibility. According to TF, one affected user had to post the following message on his site in an attempt to curb the bad impression a distribution of child pornography warning carries:

“You can rest assured that I have not and would never be found to be trafficking in such distasteful and horrific content. A little sleuthing shows that the whole of the mooo.com TLD is impacted. At first, the legitimacy of the alerts seems to be questionable — after all, what reputable agency would display their warning in a fancily formatted image referenced by the underlying HTML? I wouldn’t expect to see that.”


For its part, the DHS has apparently neglected to acknowledge the blunder.

Read the full story on Torrent Freak.

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  • 1 Hide
    LePhuronn , 18 February 2011 17:46
    And I bet every US lawyer just emptied over the floor at the thought of all those lawsuits about to land from every Joe Public user now branded as a paedophile or crook.
  • 1 Hide
    shanky887614 , 18 February 2011 18:24
    surely if this happens you can still conect to the server using the ip address of the website?
  • 1 Hide
    mi1ez , 18 February 2011 19:25
    Brilliant! Good ol' USA!