Back in August, I published a post highlighting what I felt was inaccurate technology reporting relating to my client Neustar. In that case at least I got a reply from the publication, albeit a very disappointing one. It happened again last week, and I didn’t even get a response from the reporter.
Also included in the story was this hypothesis of the cause:
“M&G is hosted on the American server UltraDNS and they have been subject to a massive amount of attacks last year.”
Ultra/Neustar’s global infrastructure had seen no sign of any DNS attack, so after seeing the story they reached out to the M&G. Not only did the attack have nothing to do with DNS, but turns out Neustar helped M&G mitigate the attack very quickly. Here’s the email from their lead online guy:
Thanks for the email. We were hacked via flaws in our PHP code, and not via the DNS at all – the author of that article is completely misinformed. We are hosted at RackSpace, who obviously have nothing to do with you. I would request a correction from News24 if I were you.
If anything Neustar has saved our butts today, because it allowed us to switch our domain to uninfected servers so quickly.
Digital Platforms Manager
The Mail & Guardian
Wow, that’s pretty straight-forward, with even the customer suggesting Neustar ask for a retraction. So, I reached out to the reporter Duncan Alfreds via Twitter, hoping to share this information with him.
I was polite, and was careful not to criticize him — he probably didn’t know any better, and I hoped he’d be interested in the facts:
Unfortunately Duncan didn’t get back to me. There are so many online pubs today and they don’t make it easy to contact them in cases like this one. With News24 based in South Africa, it wasn’t in my publication database. So I don’t know who his editor is – if he has one.
The awareness of DNS has increased greatly in the past few years, which is a really good thing. It’s encouraging more people understand how important this fundamental protocol is for the Internet to function. And of course, there are still some really good tech reporters covering the industry.
But there are a lot fewer of them today, because of the inability of the media industry to identify a business model that works for online publishing. Too many of the reporters that replace these veterans don’t understand their technology beats. And they don’t care enough about getting the story right, even when you try to point them to the facts.
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