As we know, Conn. Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont has flatly and repeatedly denied allegations by Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) camp that he or his campaign were in any way responsible for what Lieberman is calling a hacker attack on his Web site and email.
Yesterday, two experienced D.C. consultants spoke with me about questions some have raised about the professionalism of Lieberman's technology consultants. The campaign hosted its site on a "shared" server with over 70 other sites, when it should have had its own machine, skeptical observers have charged; the level of traffic the site could receive was capped, so heavy traffic would allegedly shut it down; some said the software used by the consultants was nonstandard and indicitave of less-than-expert personnel; others faulted the campaign's dependence on companies which were not large, established organizations.
Was Lieberman really hacked? There's evidence that something happened to Lieberman's internet services, but days later, it's not clear what occurred or why. (Lieberman's spokesman acknowledged to TPMCafe.com on Tuesday that, despite comments made by Lieberman's campaign manager Sean Smith (who was fired yesterday), they had no evidence Lamont or his campaign was behind the troubles.)
Lieberman's technicians stand by their original diagnosis: the campaign's site, joe2006.com, and its email were interrupted because of malicious tampering by an outsider.
I spoke with senior executives from two of the top internet consulting firms in Washington, D.C. to get their opinions on Joe's setup.
Todd Zeigler is senior vice president of the Bivings Group. His company has produced Web sites for such prominent GOP outfits as the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Both men said their firms have no involvement in the Connecticut U.S. Senate race.)
From the other side of the aisle, Justin Pinder is chief technology officer for EchoDitto, a Democratic firm which has handled high-profile internet campaigns for the likes of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D), and Montana Democratic Senate candidate Jon Tester -- though their most high-traffic site, by far, is Rosie O'Donnell's blog.
Would you host a site for a campaign of this magnitude on a shared server?
Ziegler: For a site of this profile, we would always recommend a dedicated server. Having a secure server makes it much easier to protect yourself from these sorts of attacks, and respond effectively [if] an attack takes place.
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Pinder: As EchoDitto's best practice, we'd never host a campaign [site] -- one so high-volume, especially a week before the primary -- on a shared host like that. It doesn't seem like a particularly grand idea.