FBI Seizes Public Cloud Servers Killing Innocent Applications


In my May 24 blog entry Amazon, Sony, Hackers and the Public Cloud, I described a potential risk to users of public cloud services:

There’s this little thing called the Patriot Act that allows the FBI and others to do just that – walk into Amazon’s data center and remove the machine running the hackers applications – and mine along with them.   And if I have a complex transactional application it’s very likely that I will lose something.

The seal of the FBIJust a couple of weeks later, that risk became reality – though admittedly the incident did not occur at Amazon, but at a data center in Reston, Virginia used by Swiss hosting provider DigitalOne AG.    At 1:15am, the FBI arrived, and seized 62 servers, ripping out their cables and removing them from three separate enclosures.   The effect, accordingto DigitalOne was “massive disruption to our business and functional processes to our clients’ uninvolved servers“.

DigitalOne claim that prior to the seizure, the authorities had requested information on three IP addresses.   DigitalOne precisely identified the three servers using those IP addresses to the FBI agents, but the agents seized a further 59 servers that were present in the same enclosures.   DigitalOne also claim that “various modules and cable connections, and also our company’s backup systems were affected, resulting in massive disruptions to a considerable number of client servers, our e-mail system, and our support system“. Read more of this post

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