HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Heather Young was looking for some sun exposure when she pulled out her library card to renew some books online. What she got was too hot for Hampton’s mother to handle.
“I have five children and I could imagine if they had seen him instead of their mother,” she said.
An adult toy store isn’t what she wanted to check out.
“I thought maybe I put in the wrong address, so I double-checked, double-checked three times and it still sent me to the same page and it had self-explanatory content.”
Young messaged the library and got a response apologizing and telling him IT was working there.
She also contacted 10 On Your Side. We wanted more than the Cliff Notes version and went to town to get the full story.
“It’s embarrassing! It’s not something the City of Hampton has ever wanted to do,” Robin McCormick, Hampton’s communications strategist, told us.
McCormick just learned about the problem from 10 On Your Side. From what it’s gathered so far, the library has been dealing with this for quite a while.
“We have converted the site into Hampton.gov/100/libraries about 10 years ago,” she said.
The library liked its old site name and continued to use it because the city kept the old URL. Every time people typed it in, they were automatically taken to the new site.
Then, about a year ago, the villain made history. McCormick says that according to the domain registrar, someone posed as a city employee and stole the old URL without the city knowing.
“I don’t want to point blame, I’m just a mom wanting this to go away,” Young said.
A sticker now covers the naughty site on any newly issued library card as the town strives to write an ending suitable for all ages.
In a response from the city of Hampton, officials said they were “never informed” of what happened.
Read the City’s press release below:
We learned today from a WAVY reporter that the old web address now goes to a retail site you don’t want your kids to see – and maybe you don’t want to see yourself. . Our research so far shows that someone pretended to be a city employee, contacted our domain registrar, and transferred the old URL. We were never notified. Bring your library card to any Hampton library branch, and they’ll put a sticker on it with the correct website. (You can also take possession of your children’s cards until you can, because this story is in the news and children are curious.) Hampton apologizes for this, but please know that we have also been duped or hacked. No one connected to the city has anything to do with it.
Town of Hampton
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