The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently seized several web hosting servers from a data center resulting in a large number of servers to go down or be transferred to another site. The agents confiscated three racks of servers from a data center facility in Maryland which is operated by DigitalOne, a provider headquartered in Switzerland.
On the seized servers was the DigitalOne homepage, popular real estate blog Cubed and restaurant blog Eater in addition to many other smaller sites. These were all affected by the outage and are currently inaccessible. Another popular bookmarking site, Pinboard, was also affected but managed to transfer several pages to the backup sever and is still available.
Statement from Pinboard
Pinboard released a status update stating that their web hosting provider was raided by the FBI who seized several racks and other equipment. The company was unsure as to whether their server was confiscated or whether the equipment had just gone down. Pinboard further noted that they were running on a backup server with limited capabilities but all bookmarks remained in tact.
FBI’s Contact with DigitalOne
A representative from DigitalOne noted too many online sources that the FBI was interested in perusing the files of one specific client. DigitalOne is not happy that the bureau seized the servers of many clients. Instead they should have pinpointed the specific client and confiscated that server.
The CEO of DigitalOne provided the FBI with all necessary details as to how to find servers in their data center linked to the specific IP address they were tracking. Unfortunately, the agents also confiscated many other unrelated pieces of equipment. The identity of the actual DigitalOne target has not yet been released to the media.
Response from DigitalOne Representatives
DigitalOne believes the FBI’s work was extremely unprofessional and has resulted in the company being unable to restart many of their own servers hence the reason their website is down and the customer support is unavailable. Apparently the bureau was hot on the trail of LulzSec, an international hacking group that was said to be hosted by DigitalOne. Shortly after the equipment was seized, one man was taken into custody in Essex, United Kingdom.
Emerging in early May 2011, the group instituted a rampage of network intrusions and DDoS attacks on corporate and governmental targets such as the CIA and Serious Organized Crime Agency. The Twitter account, LulzSec, noted that the arrested party was only mildly associated with the group, at best.