WiscNet connects people. We create opportunities for our community to grow collaborations and share strategies. We work together to articulate needs and then we build connections, advance strategies and create services that solve the real-world problems of our members. A well designed “people network” lets the entire WiscNet community make simple and intuitive use of our most valuable resource: each other.
One of WiscNet’s member organizations has recently been targeted with a series of significant denial of service attacks. Usually, denial of service (DOS) attacks involve a mischievous student experimenting with script that might slow down a website or knock a server offline. According to our network engineers, “This ain’t that. This is the difference between punching you in the face and hiring the mob to hit you and your entire family. And your dog.”
Somebody is both disgruntled and well-funded enough to literally buy this attack off the black market that exists for this crazy stuff. These attacks are scheduled during the day, typically at the beginning/end of the semester in order to cause maximum disruption. In this case, the attacks go well beyond knocking out the intended target. These attacks are backing up traffic across WiscNet’s network, primarily in the Milwaukee region. Once they begin, our network engineers quickly diagnose and begin troubleshooting. The hard part…squelching each attack is a manual, human process. It feels a bit whack-a-mole as we work to solve the immediate problem while trying to understand the underlying issues.
The affected organization continues to work with the FBI to figure out who is behind this attack. While attacks of this scale are rare, we anticipate they will be more frequent and easier to pull off over time. WiscNet’s network operations center will continue to monitor, troubleshoot, and whack as necessary. Most importantly, we will continue to work with our members and colleagues locally, regionally, and nationally for solutions on behalf of the entire community.
As always, feel free to talk with WiscNet support if you have further questions or concerns.
WiscNet is kicking off our WiscNet Fall Tour 2014 starting this week with the CESA Instructional Technology Services Council in Portage, Wisconsin. Between September and January we plan to hit upwards of 30 meetings, conferences, and other gatherings of the WiscNet membership to talk about connecting people and strategies. A few meetings are open to the general public:
Tuesday, September 23 – 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Eau Claire, Wisconsin [Register]
Friday, October 3 – 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Green Bay, Wisconsin [Register]
Tuesday, October 14 – Time TBD – Madison, Wisconsin [Register]
Wednesday, October 29 – Time TBD – La Crosse, Wisconsin [Register]
Tuesday, December 9 – Time TBD – Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (SLATE 2014) [Register]
Thursday, January 22 – Time TBD – Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Wisconsin State Education Convention 2015) [Register]
For more information on upcoming events (including a number of smaller, special meetings) visit http://wiscnet.net/fall-tour-2014/. We will also be reaching out to colleagues in other communities to help host events throughout the coming months.
Back in the old days, the first Thursday and Friday of March Madness were the dates we’d watch the network graphs peak. These days, the 3rd week in September gets all of the attention. It’s iOS upgrade season. A bajillion Apple devices hammering all of the networks and servers makes for interesting times. Despite all the caching and ninja traffic management techniques on the part of our engineers, note that things will get interesting mid-late next week. As always, you can monitor the traffic at the edge of your network with WiscNet’s NRG graphs at http://nrg.wiscnet.net.