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

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 93 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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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    lightbulbsocket , February 18, 2011 8:34 AM
    Mistake is apparently now a synonym for internet kill switch beta test.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    Ephebus , February 18, 2011 8:14 AM
    "Welcome, my son! Welcome to the machine!" (Pink Floyd)
  • 7 Hide
    cyrusfox , February 18, 2011 8:14 AM
    I hate to say it, but it sure seems like we are becoming a police state. Sad...
  • Display all 93 comments.
  • 9 Hide
    spacefrog , February 18, 2011 8:16 AM
    Rofl cyrus, you are fast. I knew that after 9/11 and the patriot act...
  • 7 Hide
    Kaiser_25 , February 18, 2011 8:25 AM
    its kinda funny we laugh about Egypt shutting down the internet, but the same thing would likely happen here if shit got as bad... the govt has become a self protecting machine..
  • 11 Hide
    lightbulbsocket , February 18, 2011 8:34 AM
    Mistake is apparently now a synonym for internet kill switch beta test.
  • 3 Hide
    nebun , February 18, 2011 8:43 AM
    cyrusfoxI hate to say it, but it sure seems like we are becoming a police state. Sad...

    try communist, lol....we fight to free other countries yet our own is falling deeper and deeper in the grasp of modern day communism
  • -1 Hide
    nebun , February 18, 2011 8:45 AM
    Kaiser_25its kinda funny we laugh about Egypt shutting down the internet, but the same thing would likely happen here if shit got as bad... the govt has become a self protecting machine..

    it's a shame ...our government needs to be restructured from ground up starting with the so called president...
  • 1 Hide
    wribbs , February 18, 2011 9:04 AM
    NeBuNtry communist, lol....we fight to free other countries yet our own is falling deeper and deeper in the grasp of modern day communism

    There is a difference between Communism and Corporatocracy.

    This is definately some Egyptesq BS. Luckily our is run by our tech-illiterate grandparents so there isn't too much to fear as far as Internet takedowns.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , February 18, 2011 9:17 AM
    communism... what, healthcare for all equals communism?

    id honestly love for health care to be government run. because as it stands now, we are all waiting for the day out insurance agency decided to postpone a decision on weather out healthcare will be covered or not, with them delaying the decision for long enough that it doesn't matter, we are unsavable, instead of savable but costly.
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , February 18, 2011 9:38 AM
    Wonder why DHS & FBI are not admitting the mistake.
  • 3 Hide
    rantoc , February 18, 2011 9:38 AM
    The only mistake here is that people allowed it to become a police state without speaking up, remember this the next time the police at the airport laugh at the size of your thingie after a "non-intrusive scan" in the name of safty!
  • 1 Hide
    youssef 2010 , February 18, 2011 10:12 AM
    seems like all the world governments are too stuck up to admit their mistakes
  • 5 Hide
    lashabane , February 18, 2011 10:41 AM
    NeBuNit's a shame ...our government needs to be restructured from ground up starting with the so called president...

    No, it'd start with Congress. Then we'd move on to the House and Senate before electing a new President.
  • 3 Hide
    bonezy , February 18, 2011 11:14 AM
    I've been watching NeBun's comments for a few days now, and it's pretty obvious the person doesn't add anything to the discussion.

    Hey NeBun, this is a tech site -- go troll some political site. No one likes your ignorant, right-wing drivel here.
  • 6 Hide
    cptnjarhead , February 18, 2011 11:17 AM
    The way to control an OUT of control government "police state", is to read the constitution. Know your rights, act on them. Make officials accountable for not enforcing and abiding by the Constitution. Elect constitutional minded officials to office. No matter what religion, color, or sex you are, the Constitution is there to protect your rights and individual freedoms.
    "We the People"
  • 1 Hide
    chunkymonster , February 18, 2011 11:22 AM
    JohnnyLuckyWonder why DHS & FBI are not admitting the mistake.
    The last thing Big Brother is going to do is admit to any wrong doing. They are above reproach and prosecution.

    Another example of government incompetence. Another example of the continued push destroy American style Freedom and implement the International Nanny State.

    Since the 1960's the Liberals and Elites have slowly engineered America into becoming a 3rd world country. After all, you can not embrace political correctness and multiculturalism without first making America, the last bastion of Freedom and Individualism in the world, the same as every other 3rd rate country without first destroying the foundation of those Freedoms and the mechanism that allows the individual to succeed.

    Prepare now for the class/cultural war to come!

  • 2 Hide
    cptnjarhead , February 18, 2011 11:33 AM
    chunkymonsterThe last thing Big Brother is going to do is admit to any wrong doing. They are above reproach and prosecution.Another example of government incompetence. Another example of the continued push destroy American style Freedom and implement the International Nanny State. Since the 1960's the Liberals and Elites have slowly engineered America into becoming a 3rd world country. After all, you can not embrace political correctness and multiculturalism without first making America, the last bastion of Freedom and Individualism in the world, the same as every other 3rd rate country without first destroying the foundation of those Freedoms and the mechanism that allows the individual to succeed. Prepare now for the class/cultural war to come!




    Why are you such a racist?
    Why do you hate poor people?
    Why do you hate minority's?
    Why do you incite violence?
    Why do you lie?
    You are obviously mentally challenged and need therapy.

    Why does none of this have anything to do with your post?
    Liberalism 101

    You are such a hater! :) 


  • 3 Hide
    chaoski , February 18, 2011 11:35 AM
    Good idea (to take out the child porn sites), and as usual, BAD execution.
  • 8 Hide
    tommysch , February 18, 2011 11:36 AM
    This is just incompetence. But its a slippery slope. If we keep on slipping, fear not, we have options.

    You cant remotely shutdown an AR-15. All mechanical solutions win!

    NeBuNtry communist, lol....we fight to free other countries yet our own is falling deeper and deeper in the grasp of modern day communism


    Ignorant fool is ignorant.
  • 0 Hide
    nezzymighty , February 18, 2011 11:38 AM
    Dear Toms: It’s discouraging to know that Tom’s decided to report the article, shape the idea of the article, and deliver the idea of the article to revolve around an injustice done to legitimate websites. Where is the sense of integrity in news anymore? Why is it that you have to direct your readers into thinking a specific way? Do you think your readers are stupid?

    All who blogged: If you were a parent, you would see the wrong in the ways you have expressed anger in this news post. You fell into a discussion on politics, and at that, about the government not apologizing or transitioning to communism? Seriously, that's what you got from this article? The US took down child pornographic sites. Sure in the meanwhile, took down others by mistake. So what the mistake took down legitimate sites. So what some damage was done. The damage is not permanent. It will be temporary and easily repaired. In a few weeks/months no one will remember or even care whether the legitimate sites went down. Is the sacrifice of 1 website by mistake for a couple of days more relevant than taking down child pornographic sites? Is the sacrifice of 2 websites too many? Is the sacrifice of 100,000 too many? Come on people, where is your wisdom? Where are your morals? The protection of the children is more important than some website. What if the government didn’t care, and it was your child?

    US Government (+1). Thank you for taking down the child pornography, and protecting our children, which is paramount. Job well done.
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