http://www.newsbytes.com/news/01/170084.html By Brian McWilliams, Newsbytes NEW YORK, NEW YORK, U.S.A., 13 Sep 2001, 8:40 PM CST Operators of a Web site which maintains an authoritative but unofficial list of World Trade Center attack survivors confirmed that the service is occasionally prone to error. But the site's owner denied rumors that NY.com had been hacked. "We haven't experienced any violations of our security. Our biggest problem in maintaining the survivor database is keeping the data clean," said Charles Thayer, president of Mediabridge Infosystems, which maintains the list at http://wtc.ny.com. With over 17,800 entries from site users, the NY.com list is one of the largest of a dozen or so online survivor databases that have sprung up since the twin towers crumbled from a terrorist attack Tuesday. But the site's data, which is mirrored by a handful of other sites around the world, has frequently been corrupted with obviously bogus entries such as "Bart Simpson" and "Elvis Presley," according to Thayer. While the site's operators edit out false entries as quickly as possible, NY.com, like other operators of survivor lists, cautions users that it cannot guarantee the accuracy or authenticity of the information. The phony listings have led some to speculate on Internet e-mail lists and message boards today that hackers have infiltrated the site. There have even been reports of people accessing information that turned out to be incorrect. But with cell phones and other telecommunications in the city still disrupted by Tuesday's devastation, many friends and family of individuals in the vicinity of the attack depend on the Web for information about survivors. The official site of New York City, at nyc.gov, maintains no survivor list, although it has published several hotline numbers for reporting missing persons. To prevent fraud and to speed identification, some alternative survivor lists, such as the "I'm Okay Message Center" maintained by Prodigy Communications, allow but do not require those who report a survivor to include data such as birth year, home zip code, and other identifying information. Still, Prodigy spokesperson Denise Clarke Fraser said editors of the site, which is hosted at the company's data center in Yorktown Heights, just outside New York City, have numerous times had to pluck phony listings from the tally, which currently includes 5,400 names. "Our feeling is, if we can help even one family connect with a loved one, then we've done what we wanted to do," said Thayer, who reported that the site has handled 1.3 million searches since it went online six hours after the attacks. While some security experts are cautioning site operators everywhere in the country to be vigilant about potential terrorist cyber-attacks, Thayer said he is not concerned about the possibility of attempted breaches of the site. "A great many companies are helping distribute the load by mirroring our data. If our site went down right now, the list would still be available. An attack against us would be futile," he said. To beef up the site's ability to handle search requests -- and harden its security at the same time -- NY.com's survivor site is being transferred this evening to facilities operated by Loudcloud, a California-based managed services provider which is donating several servers and routers to handle the task, according to vice president Jason Rosenthal. NY.com's WTC survivor list is at: http://wtc.ny.com . Prodigy's "I'm Okay Message Center" is at http://okay.prodigy.net . A list of other WTC survivor lists can be found at http://www.shunn.net/okay/ . Loudcloud is online at http://www.loudcloud.com . - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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