Chinese Hackers Like FedSmith Too

Why was the FedSmith site out of service for much of the day on Thursday? Here is the answer. We apologize for the inconvenience and have taken steps to try to remedy the problem.

We apologize to our readers for the FedSmith site having been out of service for much of the day on Thursday, January 29th. Here is what has happened.

The structure of the American federal government is a mystery to most citizens. To people in China, even those who study the American federal government to some extent, it is probably also mysterious. It may also be that Chinese hackers cannot read English very well. is a website that focuses largely on pay, benefits and general news of information for employees and retirees of the federal government. There is no security information on the website similar to what may be in the servers of many federal agencies from classified defense information or the type of information allegedly maintained by agencies as the National Security Agency.

So why would an individual or organization in China want to attack the FedSmith site? We have no idea. Perhaps the person or organization behind the attack cannot tell the difference between a private site with a variety of human resources information from an official government site. But, for whatever reason, the FedSmith site has been subjected to a highly sophisticated denial of service attack emanating simultaneously from a number of IP addresses within China.

This type of attack is levied for the sole purpose of making a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. It does not involve compromising our users’ personal data or passwords.

The attack has been ongoing throughout the day. We are working to get the site up and have taken numerous steps to repel this attack and to restore normal operation to our website. As a result, those who enter the FedSmith site may see an innocuous message about security that will appear for a few seconds before you see the more familiar layout of the site. It just means that the security software is running to protect the site from the continuing malicious attack.

We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through rectifying this unfortunate occurrence.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47