News From Terre Haute, Indiana

History

June 28, 2014

GENEALOGY: Hackers bring down several major genealogy sites

TERRE HAUTE — On June 16, Ancestry.com and its affiliate websites — Findagrave.com, Rootsweb.com and Genealogy.com — were brought down by hackers who assaulted the sites with a Distributed Denial of Service attack. This kind of attack bombards a targeted website with so much incoming traffic that it ends up slowing down the site, crashing its servers and rendering the site unusable by its regular patrons.

Why would someone do such a thing? Motivations include trying to extort money from a site, as was done to some unrelated sites earlier this month. The attackers ask for money in return for stopping their assault, basically holding a site hostage.

Another motivation is to create havoc on a site while the hackers secretly breach the site to gain financial information or user data.

A third motivation might be to provide entertainment for the hackers themselves — just to see if they can do it.

The outages continued through the next day, and although Ancestry has announced that its services are now back up and running, as of this writing (June 20) Geneal ogy.com (including the Genforum message boards and Family Tree Maker online) and Roots web.com are showing the following message:

“We’re sorry, but the website is temporarily unavailable. We are undergoing maintenance to resolve some errors caused by the recent DDoS attack and mitigate future attacks of this sort. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused, as this may interrupt the work you’ve been doing on the site over the next several days.”

Scott Sorensen, chief technology officer for Ancestry.com stated that no data on the sites was compromised. Although paying customers did not have access to the sites, it is unlikely that Ancestry will credit subscribers’ accounts for time lost.

There are still problems with MyCanvas, MyFamily, Family Tree Maker and downloading GEDCOM files, in addition to the other problems mentioned above.

•••

The Wabash Valley Genealogy Society will celebrate its 10-year anniversary at the July 14 meeting, to be held in the lower level of the Vigo County Public Library. The guest presenter will be Mary Lee Hagen, speaking about the Vigo County Historical Society. Her talk will include information about the Society’s collections and plans for their new building on Wabash Avenue.

The evening will include refreshments, free door prizes and a raffle for a 1-terabite Toshiba portable hard drive. Tickets for the raffle will be sold at the meeting and will be $1 each.

•••

Query: Hi, my name is Ronnie Burris. Elijah D. Burress was born Jan. 16, 1805, and died June 7, 1881. He is buried in Burris Cemetery in rural Sullivan County, Indiana. He married Susana Zink in 1839. She was born Feb. 12, 1824, and died Dec. 10, 1915. She is also buried in the Burris Cemetery. Elijah and Susana are my great-grandparents. They had eight children, four of whom married Secrests. I have a good deal of information on the Zink family, but I can not find out who Elijah’s parents or siblings are. If you have any information or would like to trade information please email me at ronnieb1@att.net. Thank you, Ronnie Burris.

Send your query about a Wabash Valley family or surname to tamszion@ gmail.com or mail to Genealogy, Tribune-Star Publishing Co., P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN 47807. Include as much information about the person or family you are searching for, including names, dates, relationships and places of residence. Also include both your regular mailing address and email address so readers can reply to you. Phone number is optional.

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