Slate, the Industry Standard, and washingtonpost.com join forces to examine the effect of the Internet on Campaign 2000.
Deane's organization forestalls such attacks with an internal firewall and a front page that they can post after an attack to redirect the visitor to a sister site. According to the creators of the new Republican Convention Web site, which launched June 15, Web campaigners need to be vigilant but not paranoid. "We've made sure all those gates are locked," says Steve Rockman of Tierney/Digital, the interactive division of the Tierney PR firm in Philadelphia.
Tierney/Digital brought in the Computer Emergency Response Team of Carnegie Mellon University, which monitors Internet skullduggery, to assess its computer security. "As a result of their activities, we feel cautiously confident," says a Web design staff member at Tierney.
But while the major campaigns beef up on security, state and local organizations remain especially vulnerable to attacks, according to Geoff Patnoe, who describes himself as a "recovering political consultant." Patnoe, who has handled several campaigns in California, says state and local campaigns tend to be less sophisticated and have fewer resources to battle what might in some cases be called e-terrorism. He says, "I've been privy to many ways the Internet and especially e-mail has been used to influence a campaign, a candidate, and even reporters covering political campaigns."