Virginia’s voter registration site goes offline on deadline date

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The outage was caused by a broken cable near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center.


James Martin/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

The last chance to register to vote in Virginia will have to be offline, after a severed cable took the state’s voter registration website down on Tuesday. It’s the last day to register to vote in the state, but the outage could potentially lock out thousands of voters. 

Election officials already anticipated a surge of voters for the 2020 presidential race, many of whom would be registering online because of the coronavirus pandemic. While its website is down, Virginia’s department of elections is encouraging people to register to vote by printing out a paper application. 

“Due to a network outage the Citizen Portal is temporarily unavailable,” a notice on the voter registration website said. “We are working with our network providers to restore service as quickly as possible.”

The outage was caused by a cut fiber cable near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center, the department of elections said. The cut cable affected several of Virginia’s websites, not just the voter registration site. 

It’s unclear when the sites will be back online, but the Virginia Information Technologies Agency said on Tuesday morning that technicians were working on-site to repair the cut


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Justin Fairfax, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, is pushing for an extension to the voter registration deadline because of the outage. 

“I am officially calling for Virginia’s Registration Deadline to be extended beyond today due to the service outages impacting voters’ ability to register

Danny Heitman’s ‘At Random’: Time offline taught me what I missed — and what I didn’t — about the internet | Danny Heitman

Last month, a contractor doing some work for us accidentally snapped the line that brings the internet to our house. Until the problem could be fixed, we were without service for a couple of days.

This is the point, I guess, when I should offer some cheerful thoughts on the virtues of being offline. In truth, doing without the internet was a pain.

Like many people, I do much of my work online. Luckily, I could use my office down the street to tackle urgent assignments. If our internet access had gone down during the early days of this year’s pandemic, when we were more strictly homebound, then I would have been in real trouble.

Danny Heitman’s ‘At Random’: A turtle, some traffic, and a lesson for a pandemic year

My favorite TV shows and a lot of news reach me through the internet, too. Living in a household where the laptops and televisions had suddenly gone mute was strange.

By coincidence, I returned home on the first night of our internet blackout and found a copy of Alan Jacobs’ new book, “Breaking Bread with the Dead,” waiting in a package by the door. His book is about many things, but one of Jacobs’ points is that our reliance on online culture has made us more anxious and separated from the wisdom of our ancestors. It’s a message many others have voiced, but Jacobs affirms it with eloquence and grace.

“Breaking Bread with the Dead” might sound like a horror story rolled out just in time for Halloween, but the meaning of the title is more benign. Many of us have heard some variation of the question about which figures from the past might make ideal dinner guests if we could somehow conjure them back. Jacobs reminds us that we

City Of Austin Website To Be Offline For Maintenance

AUSTIN, TX — The City of Austin website will be offline for six hours on Sunday for maintenance work, officials said.

The website at www.austintexas.gov will be down from 6 a.m. to noon, officials said in an advisory. The city is conducting routine maintenance on the data server during this time period, oficials explained. The scheduled maintenance will improve the city’s digital security across a variety of services and applications and will ensure the continuity of services for residents of Austin long-term, officials added.

During this time, the Austin Airport’s website and the City’s COVID-19 resource page will be offline, as they are sub-sites within www.austintexas.gov, officials added. “Please be patient as the city works to protect the integrity of our digital systems,” city officials said.

COVID-19 Resources:

  • Scheduling a test: COVID-19 test scheduling and online assessments will be offline during the maintenance window. Please book your COVID-19 test before or after this time period.

  • Dashboards: COVID-19 dashboard information will be unavailable during this time period. Dashboards can be accessed through the links below.

  • Twitter: Check https://twitter.com/AusPublicHealth for updates.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Resources

  • Flight Status: During the maintenance window, please consult your airline for updates on flight arrivals and departures, as well as bookings.

  • Parking: Parking rates have been temporarily reduced in Blue and Red Garages. These Garages are the closest parking options to the Barbara Jordan Terminal.

  • Food: Some concessions are closed or operating under limited hours based on passenger demand and staffing considerations. Concessions that are open have enhanced cleaning and safety procedures and protocols.

  • Masks/Face Coverings: As outlined by Orders from the State of Texas and the City of Austin, people must wear face coverings while visiting Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Non-compliance with these orders could result in a fine or an inability to board a flight. Most

UHS CYBER ATTACK: Universal Health Services says its computer networks knocked offline

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pennsylvania — A computer outage at a major hospital chain thrust healthcare facilities across the U.S. into chaos Monday, with treatment impeded as doctors and nurses already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic were forced to rely on paper backup systems.

Universal Health Services Inc., which operates more than 250 hospitals and other clinical facilities in the U.S., blamed the outage on an unspecified IT “security issue” in a statement posted to its website Monday but provided no details about the incident, such as how many facilities were affected and whether patients had to be diverted to other hospitals.

UHS workers reached by The Associated Press at company facilities in Texas and Washington, D.C. described mad scrambles after the outage began overnight Sunday to render care, including longer emergency room waits and anxiety over determining which patients might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Fortune 500 company, with 90,000 employees, said “patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively” and no patient or employee data appeared to have been “accessed, copied or misused.” The King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, company also has hospitals in the United Kingdom, but its operations in that country were not affected, a spokeswoman said Monday night.

John Riggi, senior cybersecurity adviser to the American Hospital Association, called it a “suspected ransomware attack,” affirming stories of people posting to an online Reddit forum who identified themselves as UHS employees.

Criminals have been increasingly targeting the networks of health care institutions during the coronavirus pandemic, infecting networks with malicious code that scrambles data. To unlock it, they demand payment.

Increasingly, ransomware purveyors download data from networks before encrypting targeted servers, using it for extortion. Earlier this month, the first known fatality related to ransomware occurred in Duesseldorf, Germany, after an attack caused

Microsoft Office products including Outlook knocked offline in Internet outage

Several Microsoft Office products and programs, including email client Outlook, were knocked offline for several hours Monday.



graphical user interface: FILE - A man wearing a mask looks at this phone outside the Microsoft office in Beijing, China in a Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 file photo. Microsoft is buying the company behind popular video games The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout. The software giant said Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 that it is paying $7.5 billion for ZeniMax Media, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)


© Ng Han Guan
FILE – A man wearing a mask looks at this phone outside the Microsoft office in Beijing, China in a Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 file photo. Microsoft is buying the company behind popular video games The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout. The software giant said Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 that it is paying $7.5 billion for ZeniMax Media, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

The outage was first reported by Twitter users, most of whom complained that Outlook was not working. Data from downdetector.com indicated that Outlook and Microsoft’s wider range of Office products were affected.

Microsoft said Monday evening that it had identified the issue (an authentication error) and was attempting to rollback recent changes, but that the outage would continue for some time longer.

However, users who were logged in before the rollback occurred were not affected.

“Existing customer sessions are not impacted and any user who is logged in to an existing session would be able to continue their sessions,” Microsoft added in a status update on the Office 365 website.

The outage came at a bad time as many workers in the U.S. continue to work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused huge surges in at-home internet use. In the earliest days of lockdown restrictions being put in place, many states’ unemployment services web portals crashed because of the dramatic increases in