Wed08202014

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KG School division and county experiencing separate internet issues

The website of the King George school division got caught in a cyber attack beginning late last week, with third-party hackers believed to be clogging the web address resulting in a ‘denial of service’ (DoS).


That makes the website extremely slow to operate and often impossible to load. It made it nearly impossible for parents and community members to access the website as well as similar problems for employees to access the division’s secure system.

It also caused problems with employees’ ability to send emails through the system. Some of the email issues have since been at least partially resolved, but the public website is still difficult to access.

Superintendent Rob Benson told The Journal the division and its internet service provider had shut the website down over the weekend to see if going dark would diminish attention to it by malicious hackers.

That didn’t work.

When it was put back online Monday, the clogging resumed, making it almost impossible for legitimate users to access.

Denial of service issues are becoming more and more common and are blamed on malicious hackers. Lots of larger government agencies, major banks and large corporations have recently been hit by malicious hackers resulting in similar ‘denial of service’ problems. Such cyber attacks are reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Benson briefly addressed the issue at this week’s meeting of the School Board on Monday, Dec. 10.

Benson stated, “We recently experienced some frustration with our division website. I want to take this opportunity with our public to reassure them that we are doing everything we can and we continue to work with our internet service provider. But unfortunately, we have fallen victim to an attack where maybe thousands of computers in this world somewhere unknowingly are sending us information all at the same time and what is happening is it’s clogging up our ability to communicate out or in over the web. That’s my layman’s explanation about basically what’s happening. I just want to reassure our public that while we’re very frustrated, we want to see it fixed and we are working with our local partner to have the issues resolved as best we can. But we regret the inconvenience I know it is on parents. We will do our best to come up with alternative ways that you can access that information.”

 

COUNTY EMAIL PROBLEMS
In what is believed to be an unrelated internet issue, the King George county government has also been experiencing issues regarding its ability to send emails.

The problem appeared about the same time and was very apparent this week to employees attempting to use the county system to send emails. When attempting to send emails, they bounce back with an error message telling them they “don’t have permission’ to send to the recipient.

County administrator Travis Quesenberry told The Journal, that the tech crew has diagnosed the problem, saying a virus has been detected that got past their firewall. A fix is underway.

Phyllis Cook

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