Data Management

State Department: Crash not 'malicious'

Shutterstock image: digital record management.

The data warehouse that supports worldwide visa and passport verification operations is sputtering along, but the State Department says the problems that brought it down were not caused by anything "malicious."

The system, the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) at the State Bureau of Consular Affairs, is operating at limited capacity after an unspecified glitch crippled it July 19, according to Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the State Department.

"We do not believe there was any malicious action or anything untoward here," Harf said at the end of the department’s daily press briefing July 24. "This was a technical issue, and again, we are working to correct it and should be fully operational again soon. We’re operating at a little bit of limited capacity right now, though, so we're trying not to overload the system," she added.

Harf shed some light on a few of the details surrounding the CCD's problems, saying it crashed shortly after maintenance was performed, leading to the conclusion that malicious action probably wasn't the cause.

"We don’t know the root cause yet," she said.

Harf said the CCD was operational but not running normally, and backlogs were building. She didn't have an estimate on when the backlog would be cleared or when the system would return to normal operations.

"So don’t everybody go apply for a visa right now," Harf joked to reporters at the briefing.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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Reader comments

Tue, Jul 29, 2014 RayW

Sounds like someone in the upper level Information Assurance chain or higher up computer "support" groups pushed something that sounded like a good idea on paper but not in real life.

We get pushes (seems like every week) from back east that are best ignored until our local computer support team can check them out and then do a safe install. The last three pushes I recall seeing broke the people who blindly obeyed the instruction to install the update such they had to have the hard drive re-imaged. Right now we have an unknown program "they" want us to install (SQL something, sounds like another babysitting virus from up above) - NO Thanks!

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