Dollar Bills & Computer Woes

But, the computer woes belong to the government – the Department of the Treasury to be exact.

Today’s post was going to comment about the dollar bill. As such, a trip to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing web sites for a down-loadable picture of a bill was in order.

After several attempts to access their web sites, a simple search returned several articles about the Department of the Treasury’s sites being down. It seems their third party host’s cloud computing architecture was hacked and four of the Department of the Treasury’s sites had to be taken offline. These sites include:,, and

The hacked code redirected visitors to a site in the Ukraine with many malware programs that could infect the visitors’ systems. Be on the lookout for system problems if you visited one of those Treasury sites yesterday or this morning before they were taken offline.

You can learn more about the issue at these sites:

U.S. Treasury Sites Hacked, Serves Up Malware

Treasury shuts down 4 cloud-hosted Web sites after infection

US government Web sites hacked

Investigations have traced other infections to this same Ukrainian site. They exploit weaknesses in common software such as Adobe Reader. Perhaps in the future when an alert for a new updated version arrives, we will be more apt to apply it quickly.

Frustrated, the gentleman in the first article leads off his commentary with, “As a consumer and a taxpayer, it’s assumed that government websites are the most secure in the nation. After all, if hackers can gain access and plant malware for viewers to download, then the nation really isn’t that all secure on the cyber frontier, right? Unfortunately, that’s apparently what has happened to three websites belonging to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. How safe and secure do you feel now?”

I can answer his question – “not safe at all.”

We as individuals, small businesses, corporations and governments depend heavily on our computers and the corresponding computing networks to go about our daily lives. And, computers do so many things that we don’t even think about anymore.

Our vehicles depend on computers. The power grid would quit operating without computers. Our telephone systems – landline and wireless – would cease to operate without computers. Our banking systems do most of their transactions via computers. And, the list goes on and on and on…

Even those of us whose formative years were prior to the prevalence of computers would have a difficult time adjusting to crippled systems or no computers at all. But, the younger folks who have always used computers would encounter a severe withdrawal without their systems.

It’s disturbing to be so dependent on a technology that can be attacked remotely from anywhere around the world.