Strong opinions, weakly held

The FBI does not understand Web hosting

The New York Times has a report on an FBI raid that knocked some of my favorite sites offline yesterday. The FBI visited a colo facility and seized at least one full rack of servers leased by DigitalOne, taking down sites like Instapaper and Pinboard. Apparently they were going after a specific host but they had no idea how to seize only the hardware associated with that host, and in the age of virtualization, going after one VM could still cause many hosts to be taken down.


  1. Heck, in the age of virtualization, seizing hardware is probably the least effective tactic. Your VM could be on another service provider’s machine in mere moments.

  2. The other theory is that the warrant was vague on purpose so that they could pull a bunch of machines, thereby not making it unclear who the target is. Although you would think the bad guys would have a good idea regardless. Seems more likely that they just didn’t bother to care.

  3. Sounds like the TPB raid five years ago. Police just marched in and pulled a few servers; unfortunately most of them were the wrong ones.

  4. That should have been “thereby making it unclear” of course.

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