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back to article Tories, LibDems under election day cyberattack?

The website of the Conservative Party was hit by a denial of service attack early on Thursday morning, just as Britons went to the polls for the most closely-watched European elections for years. The assault made the site largely unavailable between 7.23 and 8.20 on Thursday, after which service was restored more or less to …

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Al
Paris Hilton

What's the point?

Why a DDoS attack on polling day? The great British public aren't so fickle as to vote for the only party with a working website on the day, are they? I haven't done door-to-door canvassing for years, so maybe someone with later experience can tell me if this comes up a lot.

And DDoS? Come on! An interesting hack subverting the message would be far more stylish....

Paris for a cheap 'putting something in the box' joke.

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Alien

People I follow on the Twittersphere...

... have had trouble accessing the Green Party website this morning also. Haven't felt the need to try myself so possibly unrelated. My mind was made up before this morning anyway.

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Joke

Labour won't have done it...

... doubt they'd have the IT skills!

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Maybe

its the same DOS that the BNP suffered from.

They probably cant afford the hosting now their expenses have dried up.

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AC
Thumb Down

tried to vote

this morning for the first time, expecting to find some sort of giant "POLLING STATION" sign somewhere nearby but no. Absolutely nothing to indicate which building I had to go into.

I'm hoping it'll be easier to find tonight but ffs, can't they make a simple sign for the noobs??

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Anonymous Coward

DOS my ass

"He added that the website is built to handle the higher traffic associated with a general election, discounting huge visitor numbers as a possible explanation for problems with the site."

Build to handle? Rubbish. Looks like their normal traffic is tiny (look at the Alexa demographics, it's all pensioners), their server is IIS 6.0 Windows Server 2003. Their uptime suggests frequent problems and a single server, and their traffic profile says they normally get few visitors, but have had some spikes recently:

http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=www.conservatives.com

http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/conservatives.com

So no, they do not have a cluster in place to handle a site in the top 50k, and their admin is making an excuse.

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Tim

@AC tried to vote

The card your council sent you a couple of months ago has the location of the polling station on it. Your council website will have the location as well. Your neighbours may know. Lots of ways to find out.

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Lib Dems: "Oops! Something is wrong"

...would be a pretty good campaign slogan actually.

Presumably their website was overloaded when over six people connected at one time.

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Anonymous Coward

@Tim

There was less signage around my polling station too, and none of it visible from the road. A sinister attempt to keep voters from casting what will no doubt be dismissed as a "mid-term protest vote"?

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Gold badge
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@Chris Matchett

Twittersphere? TWITTERSPHERE?????

O......M......F.......G.......!

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odd...

the front page at www.libdems.org.uk returns a 503 error saying no server available to service request - NB seems to be hosted on amazons EC servers??

But having gone through the cached copy on google other pages below seem to work fine...

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Silver badge
Flame

@AC tried to vote

You're obviously either too stupid, or too disconnected from your local community, to be allowed to vote. All the information you need is on the card.

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Coat

@Tim

Shhhhh!

Not too much help please, if he or she can't find the polling station unassisted I'm not sure he or she should be encouraged to vote :-)

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@AC tried to vote

What Tim said.

Hell, if you can't find an address on a polling card without the help of a huge sign, should you really be allowed to put a tick in a box unsupervised?

This country.

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Joke

If you can't find the polling station

you've failed to reach the intellectual standard required to vote.

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Anonymous Coward

The votes are counted

Interesting, looking to see why Labour server didn't fail:

labour.org.uk has an Alexa traffic rank of 181,745, up from 224000. So whereas the Convervatives service was hit by high traffic spike (REAL traffic, bots don't run Alexa tool bar in a browser FFS), labour website wasn't.

libdems.org.uk is between the two in their spike traffic.

Even UKIp.org party was at 98000 rank yesterday.

So based on the vote of people, stupid enough to install Alexa toolbar in their browsers, I would say

1. Conservatives

2. UKIP

3. LibDems

4. Labour

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Paris Hilton

DDOS or High Traffic?

Are they sure this is a DDOS or just high traffic?

A lot of people will be hitting their website today.

Paris give denial of service to ANYONE

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Coat

@Chris Matchett

"People I follow on the Twittersphere... ... have had trouble accessing the Green Party website this morning also.".

The Green Party will have their site hosted on an EcoServer in a Tipi at a climate change camp powered by a windmill (and the wind's not blowing today).

The Conservatives will have given the contract to the lowest bidder (and subsequently renegotiated the terms for a further 30% off the price resulting in the lucky "successful" supplier being forced to lay off most of their staff and unable to pay the electricity bill).

The Liberal Democrats, following a lengthy "ethical sourcing" process will have engaged the services of a FairTrade hosting company in South America staffed entirely by disadvantaged ethnic minorities who've been denied an education by the corrupt local political system (and their hardware has been seized by the secret police and the staff shipped off for "re-education).

Meanwhile Labour will have siphoned off £half-a-billion of taxpayer funded infrastructure, hardware, and staff from a dodgy government megadatabase project... No hang on,. that can't be right, their site's still working...

--

JG

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Stop

Hey now

don't be mean to the guy, anyway the crushing realisation that whoever he votes for will not make *ANY* difference will be bad enough!

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@AC Tried to Vote

Please don't think I'm trying to teach you to suck eggs.

They usually do have large B&W signs outside saying "Polling Station", sometimes more than one. Many of them will have been set-up last night - although in some areas they don't for fear of vandalism. If the local officer in charge decides that the building is sufficiently off of a main thoroughfare, they may also have additonal directional signs pointing the way.

You will normally also see a uniformed police officer on duty - however, they may be inside. Their duty is to ensure that there is no voter intimidation taking place. You will often see other people hanging around outside - they must NOT approach you on the way in (this can be an offence), but can do so on the way out to ask how you voted, but you are at liberty to tell them to MTODB.

Please note that to vote, you must be registered; it is truly surprising how many people don't understand this. If you are registered then as Tim points out, you will have received a card. If you have not received it by 2 days before, you are supposed to contact the designated department at the local council.

It is possible that if something has gone wrong, and you are not registered, you may still be allowed to cast a vote, but you will need to speak to the the local staff as soon as possible. If they won't help, then I would suggest that you contact one of the election candidates; if they think that they might pick up a vote (and especially if they expect it to be a close election) they will do what they can to ensure that you get the chance.

When you get inside, read the instructions posted on a noticeboard carefully; in many cases, there will be a simple ballot, but sometimes (as it will be today), there may be more than one ballot paper. Sometimes you mark one candidate, other times you select more than one. Failure to follow the correct procedure will invalidate the paper - however, you may choose to deliberately do this to make a "protest" vote if you so choose; it is your vote after all.

In large areas, they may separate people by area, by letter of surname - my local station will have only a few people so the electoral officers may actually outnumber the voters at any given time! If you have your registration card it will make the process easier; if not then try to take some identification. They will emboss the ballot paper(s) to prevent fraud and hand them to you; if you are still not sure what the process is for filling in the ballot, you may ask those people to explain. Please note, you should NOT approach anyone else - this could result in you being ejected and being disallowed from voting.

They may require you to wait to enter a polling booth if it is particularly busy. They generally don't mind people chatting, but be careful that you aren't seen to be trying to influence anyone else.

When you enter the booth, there should be a pencil for marking the paper; if it is broken, you should immediately inform the staff. If you see any abandoned papers, hand them over to the staff. Mark your papers to cast your vote, then exit the booth and place the papers in the designated box as quickly as possible; do not hand them to anyone else.

Being allowed to vote is a tremendous privilege and one that people often take too lightly. Remember that many people have died in order that you might be allowed to have a say in how things are run in this country.

Above all, enjoy exercising your franchise - but remember it doesn't end with just voting in an election.

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Anonymous Coward

Polling Station Sign

It's not a conspiracy over the signs - mine had the usual plethora of "Way In" and "Way Out" signs pointing clearly between the only two open doors with lights on...

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@Jakey

"Hell, if you can't find an address on a polling card without the help of a huge sign, . . ."

The map on my one is rather useful, too.

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Dead Vulture

Democracy at risk

I have been having trouble accessing El Reg and slashdot, my two favourite parties. I may have to vote Conservative or Lib Dem instead as I can access their pages fine.

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Coat

Update from David Cameron

I've just had an email from David Cameron. He wrote that the Conservative IT systems would be better protected if there was a clean moat around the data centre.

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Silver badge

Not all parties are affected

http://www.omrlp.com/ is running fine, no problems I can see.

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Flame

Rubbish

DDoS? Oh lets see - hated Labour's site stays up (which is the one you would hit with a DDoS were you so inclined) and all alternatives to Labour go down.

It's a popularity contest. Labour lost. Prize for losing is your site stays up.

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Voting station

Christ, you lot are rough.

I've just rung the wife to check it was where it was last time, next stop would have been to look at the council website, but I've been voting for years. If it's the first time, it is pretty daunting, as it should be. Choosing who we appoint to <delete>rape and pillage</delete> guard and represent our interests is a serious matter..

Yeah, I know, crap joke. So vote for someone else.

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Paris Hilton

@AC Tried to Vote

I have yet to see a Police Officer or anyone from any party at my polling station for since I started voting, and they never ask for ID of who I am.

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Unhappy

Damn.

I am, unexpectedly, 250 miles from my polling station today :(

New I shoulda gone for a postal vote!

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Go

@Damn.

Just finished a 500 mile round trip so that my partner and I could both get to our permanent homes to vote. You still have 4.5 hours!

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@Rebecca

Don't forget to claim the expenses on your round trip - if it's OK for MPs then it's OK for us.

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