One of Santa Barbara’s most popular news sites, Edhat, came back online May 29, much to the relief of its readers and contributors. The website had been out of commission since May 7, when it was the victim of a ransomware hack, nearly a week before the worldwide hack hit news pages. Sue Foley, publisher of the website, refused to pay. Instead, she and her staff took the site down and checked it for corruption and data loss. Then, they continued with their almost-completed redesign of the site, which they rolled out this week. “We’re really pleased with the positive response so far,” said Foley, “and we don’t want to let our readers down.”
In her introduction to the new site, Foley explained, “They basically put a padlock on our data and asked for money to give us the key. But since Ed and Lauren and I do not take kindly to dirty rotten web terrorists, we thumbed our collective noses and decided to move on.” Foley assured her readers and contributors that their personal data is safe — though some of the Edhat content was lost — and new security in place. Lauren Bray is managing editor for the site; Ed is, well, “the boss,” Foley wrote.
The website was the brainchild of Peter Sklar, Foley’s late husband, who started Edhat.com in 2003. “He thought what a fantastic platform this would be to bring the people of his much-loved Santa Barbara together and to enhance the already tight-knit community,” said Foley. Edhat’s Dedicated Staff captures news items from the Santa Barbara press, with more information posted by contributors like Roger Dodger, who monitors police and fire scanners seemingly constantly. Local columnists, contests, press release postings, and movie, music, and food reviews will continue as the site completes its new upholstery.