Harrison’s website back online


Harrison’s municipal website, which was taken down July 7 after hackers attacked the site, is back in business.

Nick Ayala, manager of Scan Worx, which runs the site for the town, said: “On Sunday, July 24, we launched a new website for the Town of Harrison, with a new domain name and host provider.”

The new URL is townofharrisonnj.com.

“We felt that it was important to start fresh with a new domain name because the original name [townofharrison.com] was badly compromised,” said Ayala, whose firm has been in charge of the site for the past nine years.

Additionally, the former host provider, Hostway, has been replaced, Ayala said. That company, he added, “was unresponsive and very difficult to deal with during this crisis.”

Ayala declined to name the new host provider but internet records show that godaddy.com is now listed as performing that function.

Aside from rebuilding the site, Ayala said his company has “implemented new security features” to better protect the new website. He declined to elaborate, except to say that “we’ve taken every precaution to rebuild the site.” And, he added, “we have been in constant contact with the mayor’s office regarding all decisions that were made.”

A check of the new website shows that, essentially, it contains the same format and features of the old site, with a few new wrinkles.

“We changed some of the colors and added new pictures – it’s easier on the eye,” Ayala said. “But all the information the town needs is there.”

Last week, Ayala told The Observer that his company was able to trace the hackers to a California online source but because it had as many as a dozen IP addresses, they were too elusive to shut them down.

“Again, these are highly intelligent and sophisticated criminals who seek to cause havoc and destruction in the cyber world,” he said. “It is definitely a sign of the times. … Forensically, it’s so hard to nail these guys. … I would like to thank all heads of departments and the town’s residents for their patience and understanding.”

Ayala reiterated that none of the website’s contents contained sensitive or confidential information which, if hacked, would compromise the privacy of the town’s agents and/or employees.

According to Harrison CFO Gabriela Simoes Dos Santos, the town has paid $7,562 so far this year for website services. It has, thus far, received no billing for the work on the hacking issue, she added.

– Ron Leir

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