888.4.NATNET
Facebook Twitter LinkIn Blog Instagram YouTube Google Plus
21
Aug
2013

Judge Rules IP Masking is a Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

by Administrator

Judge Rules IP Masking is a Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

 

In a court decision with potentially far-reaching unintended consequences, US District Judge Charles Breyer has ruled that circumventing an IP address blockade to connect to a website when you have been properly notified that the website wants you to stop visiting it is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

 

Passed by Congress in 1984, the highly controversial CFAA law was intended to combat hackers, attaching both civil and criminal penalties to enhance the government’s ability to prosecute anyone who accesses computers to steal information, or to disrupt and destroy computer functionality. More recently, the government has interpreted the anti-hacking provisions to include seemingly mundane and commonplace activities that may go so far as violating a corporate website’s terms of service or a company’s computer usage policy.

 

This particular case is involves 3Taps, an aggregator of Craigslist ads that allowed users to search all of Craigslist’s sites nationwide rather than checking each individual local Craigslist when searching for an item. While 3Taps may argue sites like theirs are providing a service to sellers and buyers, indirectly increasing the value of Craigslist’s ads, the management of Craigslist didn’t see it that way. After sending a cease-and-desist letter to 3Taps, Craigslist blocked the IP addresses 3Taps used to access Craigslist sites.

 

3Taps allegedly circumvented the blockade by masking their IP addresses, and continued scraping ads from the site, resulting in a lawsuit filed by Craigslist claiming a violation of the CFAA. In it’s argument before the court, Craigslist asserted that by spoofing their IP address, 3Taps committed “access without authorization,” which seems to be interpreted as the online equivalent of breaking and entering. 3Taps took the position that the sites were publicly accessible by anyone with an internet connection and that there was no legal framework for a site owner to have a legally enforceable revocation of access for any specific user of a website.

 

While friend-of-the-court briefs filed by technologists indicated that simple IP address masking should not constitute hacking, the judge disagreed, and stated in his decision that he did not think ordinary people mask their IP addresses – especially after being sent a cease and desist letter to put them on notice that their access invitation had been revoked. Some argue in the wake of the decision that courts fail to understand just how easy and widespread the practice of IP masking is on the internet these days as people seek to maintain some level of anonymity from advertisers and spying eyes. The result of this decision is that 3Taps will face a civil damages trial unless they settle with craigslist out of court, and they may also face criminal prosecution under the law as well though experts argue that is unlikely in this instance. 

 

Meanwhile, in an official statement issued on their website, 3Taps has indicated that they will continue to aggregate Craigslist ads, stating: “Although craigslist may use the CFAA as currently interpreted to prevent 3taps from accessing its servers, 3taps can continue to function because directly accessing these servers is only one of three ways in which the information in question can be obtained. The other two, crowd-sourcing and public search results, require no such access to craigslist’s servers and thus obviate the need to engage in conduct that may implicate the CFAA. Going forward, 3taps will operate based on its understanding that if it does not access craigslist’s servers, it has a right to collect public information originally posted on craigslist’s website.”

 

The larger implication of this ruling is that relatively average users, now have a ruling that sets precedent in some jurisdictions, that if you do something to access a site by circumventing an IP block, whether to access a forum that has blocked your IP address, or something spoof your IP address to watch shows on the BBC’s Online UK-only iViewer from the United States to watch the latest episodes of Downton Abbey or Doctor Who, you may now be subject to the same harsh penalties intended for criminal hackers which include potential prosecution under the CFAA.

 

NationalNet will continue to monitor this ongoing litigation and work with our clients to secure their sites from malicious access by hackers while delving more deeply into the privacy implications that a ruling of this sort may have on the evolution of the internet itself, and the ways people use it in the months or years to come.

Share and Enjoy
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
12
Aug
2013

The History of NationalNet

by Administrator

This article was written by our President, Bill VanVorst in response to customers wanting to know more about the history of NationalNet.

The History of NationalNet

Once again, my websites are down – for the third time in a week. It’s 1996 and I have a few small brochure based websites for my company hosted at a web host that seemed to be a good choice when I selected them.  I call customer service and no one answers the phone so I make the decision to move my sites to another hosting company.  Two months into this new hosting company, my sites are so slow I can barely load them.  Their support tries to convince me that it must be a server issue and that I’ll have to figure it out on my own. Of course, I know better.  Hosting websites can’t be that hard, I think to myself – why so many issues?

It was about this time that I met Tony Morgan.  Tony posted on a forum looking for someone to write a small stats program and I offered to do for him.  We agreed on a price and I completed the program for him.  Because he had sites similar to mine, we started trading traffic and soon became friends.  Tony had a web development and design company but was also having similar issues where his sites were hosted.

It was shortly after this in 1998 that Tony had the opportunity to purchase National Internet, as it was called at the time (national-net.com).  I received a call from Tony asking that if he bought it, could I manage it.  It was only eight servers and I knew I could manage them without any problems at all in my spare time.  At the time, we had no intentions of being in the hosting business, but at least now we had full control of our hosting and no one to blame but ourselves if the sites were down. Plus, the revenue from the existing customer base would allow us to have free hosting of our own sites. That is the day that we began to call it NationalNet.

Because Tony was based in Atlanta and the servers were in Florida, he leased a couple of racks in a small data center in downtown Atlanta and we moved the eight tower servers to these racks and set up a nice little network. That night, Tony confided in me that until that day he had never even seen a web server live and in person.  That, however, was quite OK because that is why he had me.  I lived in Tucson at that time and did all the management remotely.  We set up a small phone system in Atlanta that would forward support calls to my phone in Tucson but most support was done via email.  Any time a customer would email support, I would drop whatever I was doing and deal with the issue.  I knew how it felt to wait for support so I was determined to not let that happen to our fully managed hosting customers.

In 1998, the web hosting community was a fairly small and close-knit community and it didn’t take long for the word to get out that NationalNet had great support and very good uptime, so we started to get requests for hosting.  Our standard response was “no – we’re not really in the hosting business”.  Finally, a mutual friend of ours told us, “I don’t care what it costs, your fully managed hosting seems good and I want you to host me”.  We decided to throw out a big number thinking that they would say “no way!” and quit bothering us about it.  The price at that time was $1500/server set up,   $1500/month/server, and $1500/mpbs of bandwidth. Amazingly, the future customer replied, “Sign me up, now” and that, friends, is how NationalNet got the early reputation of the most expensive hosting money could buy…and we made sure it was darn well worth it.

From there, customers continued to sign up and NationalNet started to grow to the point where I had a decision to make.  I could choose to stay in Tucson and continue to try to make a living with my sites, or sell them and move to Atlanta and run NationalNet as a full time employee.  Obviously, I made the latter decision.

Over the next decade revenues went up, prices came down, but we kept growing in all verticals.  Not only did our finances grow but so did our family.  Heck, our first offices were in a three-bedroom apartment where we turned each bedroom into an office.  Of course, just to keep up with the growth we had to hire more people and that meant we needed more room.   So, about a year later we moved from that three-bedroom apartment to our very first “big boy” office. 

 It was a tiny office in a small strip mall, somewhere between an insurance company and a dry cleaner. The office was so tiny I worked out of the Conference Room most of the time just so I would have enough room to work. Just a short while later the office next door came open and we leased it, knocked out a wall, and I got my very own office with a window and room for the entire tech staff to be close enough to me to hear me holler down the hall.  

During this time of rocket growth not only did we add more employees we added more servers…lots and lots of servers.  It seemed like I blinked and our 8 servers became 80 and I remember when we found out that we had basically outgrown our data center provider.  They simply could not keep up with our growth.  At that time, we moved to our very own larger 2000 square foot data center and I really thought that would be enough to carry us for some time.  Then, I blinked again…

Our 8 servers had gone to 80 and then to 800 (and remember that in these days 4u servers were mostly what we used).  Our 2,000 square feet that should have held us for another 5+ years was already consumed in less than three years.

That is when I decided that we needed to take a big leap if we were going to continue to grow at the pace we had been in our short years as a host.  At the time, it was the largest under-taking that we had taken in our short lives and, needless to say, it took some coaxing to convince Tony to spend the millions of dollars it would take to complete this leap.  Not only did my plan involve taking over a 9,000 square foot, brand new Data Center that had been shed by the bankruptcy of GTE, it also included taking another 20,000 square foot of almost dilapidated office space across the street and building out 10,000 square foot of it into a Class-A office and Network Operations Center on our own dime.  Just the build-out of the office space alone was over $500,000 and we did not own the building, so we knew we had to stay there a long time for it to pay off.  For those of you that remember when the Tech Support staff would say, “let me run over to the Data Center to reboot your server” they were actually taking an elevator down 10 floors, running across the street, taking another elevator up 9 floors to get to your server.  Amazing, when I look back on it, that we could still reboot a server in about five minutes.

We grew into this solution with a little more grace than we had before.  Yes, we continued to grow, but we developed tools to make our solution much more streamlined, System Administrators got better, we became more pro-active with our monitoring and such so there was less fires to put out on a daily basis.  In a word, we became more “efficient”.  While we were busy becoming more efficient, servers were getting smaller, yet more powerful.  Their footprints were getting smaller but their more powerful processors were demanding more and more energy.  About 5 years later we got the news…”yes, you have more space in your 9,000 square foot data center, but we cannot provide you with any more power service to your floor”.  Friends, let me tell you from experience that a data center with floor space and no power is about as useless as the right shift button.  So we did it again…

Now, over 15 years from when it all began, we are in a beautiful, state-of-the-art, 73,000 square foot multi-tenant data center.  The 35,000 square foot section that contains NationalNet’s core hosting and colocation business was “purpose built” from scratch just over two years ago exactly the way we wanted it.  In addition, there is another 35,000+ square feet that we have available for larger, build-to-suit clients, or for NationalNet growth as needed for our future.  As for power, we are only 2.5MW into 8MW available that is expandable to 20MW when needed.  Needless to say, I am quite confident that this will be a large enough facility to last us for many, many years… but…I have said that before.

We have come a long way in over 15 years but there are still times when I miss that little apartment!

Share and Enjoy
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
22
Nov
2012

NationalNet Offers Our Thanks

by Administrator

I thought I would share with you the Holiday Wishes that was sent to every NationalNet Web Hosting for in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday…..

Even though NationalNet is a Global Company with Clients spread to every corner of the planet, our Operations and Employees are solely on American soil and, with that, sometimes we blindly celebrate our own Holidays without taking time to stop to honor our friends and customers own holidays and traditions. To that end, I wanted to take a moment during the Thanksgiving Holidays and give thanks for ALL of our clients no matter their home. For our friends and family in America, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! To those of you in the many countries that have already celebrated your “Thanksgiving” or “Harvest Festival” or “Sukkot” we give thanks for you too. 

In this industry, more than most, we realize that the world is getting smaller every day but in so many ways we are becoming more and more beholden to technology. PLEASE take just a few minutes this weekend to put down the smart phone, the tablet, the laptop, the game controller and tell those that you care about how you really feel. Whether it is your spouse, your partner, your kids, your parents, your siblings or your neighbors let them know what they mean to you. It won’t take but a minute and it will make you BOTH feel great!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS!!!!

Tony Morgan

Chief Executive Officer

NationalNet, Inc.

 

Share and Enjoy
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
11
Jan
2012

The Giving Season

by Administrator

This past holiday season, the NationalNet staff was excited to participate in toy drives with the Marine Corp’s Toys For Tots program as well as the Giving Tree.  Toys For Tots had such a great demand for boxes this year that they ran out in late November. Never fear though, the folks at NationalNet are crafty and we wrapped and decorated our own box. For weeks, presents poured in and made our lobby quite festive!

 

NationalNet -Toys For Tots 2011

 

Though the time for sparkling lights, decorated trees and wrapped packages has passed it is never too late to contribute to these charities.  We are always thinking of the kids and we hope you are too. Toys For Tots accepts donations all year round, for more information please visit their website.

Share and Enjoy
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
02
Dec
2011

Giving Thanks

by Administrator

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the NationalNet Executive Management team surprised the staff with a wonderful turkey dinner from Mary Mac’s of Atlanta.  We were spoiled with turkey & cornbread dressing, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, banana pudding and more.  Everything was delicious and it was wonderful to spend time with all of our staff and some of their families too.

After lunch, we found another surprise waiting for us outside.  A Game Truck had been hired to spend a few hours outside the data center. The truck was equipped with multiple game consoles and all of the latest video games that we played on large flat screens.

The delicious meal and time spent gaming with coworkers was a very nice way to head into the Thanksgiving holiday!

New high level security man trap doors at NationalNet

Share and Enjoy
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
28
Oct
2011

McLane Charity Golf Classic

by Administrator

Recently we had the honor of participating in the McLane Charity Golf Classic. Just South of Atlanta at the Whitewater Creek Golf Course, four NationalNet representatives spent the day ‘teeing it up for the kids.’  The golf classic benefits Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  We are excited to be returning supporters and hope to see everyone again next year.  Take a look at some of our pictures from the event, there couldn’t have been a more perfect day to play golf for such a wonderful cause!

 

New high level security man trap doors at NationalNet

Share and Enjoy
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
25
Oct
2011

NatNet News: Referral Program

by Administrator

Referral ProgramIn this months edition of the NatNet News we are showing our customers how much we love them by launching the Referral Program Promotion.  Take part and you could win an iPad!  Also in this edition, read a blog post on CDNs by our President, Bill Van Vorst and see some of the changes going on around the data center for our SSAE 16 Attestation.  Click here to start referring and reaping rewards!

Share and Enjoy
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
24
Aug
2011

We’re Amping Up Our Security

by Administrator

During our process of achieving the SSAE 16 Attestation, we’ve decided to upgrade to a more advanced layer of security for our facility. Previously, our main entrance had a rotating door that was badge activated, now we have double man trap doors leading from the lobby into the facility. While this may not seem like much to some, it is definitely a plus when considering that it adds another touch point for screening individuals before they enter the data center. This brings us up to 6 access points with increasing levels of restriction. Another upgrade to our facility has taken place with our outside break area by installing a robust 10 foot fence. We felt that our customers and employees would like a secured place for their breaks without having to leave the facility entirely. Check out the pictures below of the new door construction process!

New high level security man trap doors at NationalNet

Share and Enjoy
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
19
Jul
2011

NatNet News: We’re Making a Statement

by Administrator

SSAE 16 LogoThis edition of NatNet News shows our commitment to customer service and our dedication to improving our data center. Read a blog entry on the SSAE 16 Attestation, Review us on Google, or find out more on our Hardware Integration Manager, Russell Bentley. For the newsletter, click here.

Share and Enjoy
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
13
Jul
2011

Employee Highlight: Russell, Hardware Integration Manager

by Administrator

Russell, EmployeeMany of you know that NationalNet has had some major growth in the past year with the addition of some wonderful employees and new programs; however, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the aid from our long standing employees and their dedication to seeing NationalNet become a leader in the hosting industry. Russell Bentley has been an asset to our team for nearly 8 years and is currently our Hardware Integration Manager.

 

As part of Russell’s responsibilities, he researches, purchases, builds and keeps inventory of our server hardware options. Basically, he’s the first set of hands to touch new servers and get them up and running. He gained his acumen in the technology world by earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology from Clayton State University. To this day, he continues his education in current hardware technologies by attending and participating in industry shows such as Intel’s Technology Provider Program and Microsoft’s MSDN Training Programs.

 

In his spare time, Russell is an avid traveler who has recently been on a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico and is leaving for a tour of China in a few weeks. (Must be nice ;-)Please join us in our appreciation of Russell and his career with NationalNet.

Share and Enjoy
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
NationalNet, Inc., Internet - Web Hosting, Marietta, GA
Apache Linux MySQL Cisco CPanel Intel Wowza