In early July, the Federal Bureau of Investigation plans to invite small businesses to compete for the job of managing its public-facing website. The task likely will require protecting the site from hacktivists who in the past have knocked it offline to protest alleged government overreach.
In 2012, for instance, hacker protestors Anonymous brought down FBI.gov and other government sites with a barrage of useless traffic in retaliation for the feds taking down video-sharing site Megaupload.com.
The bureau "has a requirement for information technology services for Internet web presence software applications, content management, content delivery and technology environments," states a presolicitation notice posted Friday.
FBI officials said additional specifications for website support will be released within 17 days.
In late 2010, Level 3 Communications Inc. and HumanTouch, LLC announced a $4.9 million, four-year contract to maintain the public-facing site, according to the companies' websites. Level 3 has been hosting the site in a private cloud environment, providing content delivery and monitoring traffic. HumanTouch's work has focused on site security.
Edward Morché, then-senior vice president of federal markets for Level 3, told Washington Technology in 2011 another agency published a highly anticipated report, and its servers couldn’t handle the volume of requests for it. That won’t happen with Level 3 hosting FBI.gov, he said at the time.
“We ran the SuperBowl broadcast traffic last weekend — you can’t have enough traffic to bring our network down,” Morché said.