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The September school season is here! Having finally returned to campus life, do you still have confidence in your “class skipping skills”?
However, many schools still set up some online courses for safety reasons, which can be said to provide a lot of convenience for students who want to skip classes.
Or do you want to be more direct and directly attack the school’s network to the point of collapse and liberate all students?
It sounds unbelievable, but this has actually happened last week.
A 16-year-old high school student from Florida planned eight DDoS attacks, which defeated the school’s online education platform, forced the school’s online courses to be terminated for a period of time, and indirectly led to the collapse of the regional network… .
Such “hardcore” skipping skills are still a bit powerful. However, at present, the teenager has been captured and is facing double charges of fraud and interference with educational institutions.
16-year-old high school student breaks through the school’s online education network
Last Monday, South Miami High School, a private school in Miami-Dade County, Florida, ushered in its first day of school. The school also adopted part of the online teaching model.
But unexpectedly, as soon as the students logged in to the virtual classroom, the network immediately encountered a failure.
The computer network in this area is the fourth largest computer network in the United States. However, it coincides with the first day of school. When the students land in a swarm, it is indeed very likely to become crowded and overwhelmed, but strangely, for several days in a row, the students Our online courses have been slow to load.
Another classmate of this school, 17-year-old Jack Meyer, had trouble logging on to the platform after going to school on Monday. He said: “The internet is super slow.” “About half of the time, my course could not be loaded at all.”
He repeatedly received error messages about busy networks and tried to solve the problem by pressing the refresh button over and over again.
This makes everyone a little confused.
Until Thursday, after some investigations at the school, the management finally issued a statement. It turned out that the network problem was a malicious attack. The attacker was not someone else, but a 16-year-old student in the school. In the school’s official statement, it read: “This student admitted to planning eight DDos attacks designed to crash the regional network.”
Full statement link:
The attack targeted regional networks, mainly the network of My School Online, the main local K12 online learning platform.
However, the skipping class did not last long. After realizing that the teaching platform could not be used, the teachers quickly switched to other platforms such as Microsoft and ZOOM. These problems have been basically resolved.
At present, the student has been arrested. The authorities stated that the student was prosecuted as a minor on charges of attempting to use a computer to commit fraud, which is a felony; at the same time, disturbing educational institutions, which is a misdemeanor.
With multiple crimes and punishments, this “truant dragon” may have to pay a high price for his truant plan.
Online education platform security protection is too weak?
After the incident was reported, various heated discussions arose. The question most people want to know may be, are these K12 online education systems so weak? Why can a 16-year-old child break through?
Let’s take a look at the DDoS attack used by this “young hacker” first.
The full name of DDoS is Distributed Denial of Service, which is translated into Chinese as Distributed Denial of Service. Generally speaking, it means that the attacker uses the “broiler” to initiate a large number of requests to the target website in a relatively short period of time, which consumes the host resources of the target website on a large scale and makes it unable to serve normally.
Using the simplest way of thinking: in a cafe that can only accommodate 100 people, suddenly there are tens of thousands of people, only occupying seats and not ordering, the reception capacity of this cafe will be instantly destroyed. Online games, Internet finance and other fields are high-risk industries for DDoS attacks.
Therefore, not only this kind of online education platform cannot withstand large-scale DDOS attacks, but also some technology platforms that have always been known for their technical capabilities sometimes cannot escape the fate of being defeated.
On February 28, US Eastern Time, the world’s largest code hosting platform GitHub was attacked by a bandwidth of up to 1.35Tbps. This DDoS attack can almost be regarded as the largest and most powerful DDoS attack in the history of the Internet.
After GitHub was attacked, the incident did not stop. Only a week later, the attackers began to carry out DDoS attacks on Google, Amazon and other websites, with the highest bandwidth reaching 1Tbps.
However, the Florida youth attack has not been so wild, and the execution of this attack is not as complicated as imagined.
Just “search through Google, you can find many ways.”
“It doesn’t even have to be a carefully arranged setting. You can basically run it by using some simple automation software, and by using some’broilers’, you can start sending traffic to the websites they attack.”
“This means that the arrested suspect, or his accomplices, locked a server run by the school or the server running the server, and then injected malicious traffic into the server.” Network security expert and consulting firm EdTech Strategies Douglas A. Levin, president of the company, said, and then “a large amount of malicious traffic caused system congestion.”
In this attack, the police also tracked down an IP address. After investigation, it was found that this IP address was the student’s home.
Miami-Dade School Police Chief Edwin Lopez said in a statement that there may be other people involved in the attack.
He added: “We will only feel at ease if everyone in the gang is captured and brought to justice.”
“Cyber attacks are serious crimes and have far-reaching negative effects. For anyone who wants to commit cyber crimes, we want to tell you, think before you act, and we will find you.”
This has also raised concerns about whether companies and regions have taken adequate measures to protect the network, and whether the relevant authorities are responsible for the attacks on students. After all, the students did not seem to have used particularly advanced technology in this attack. .
He said: “A 16-year-old young man may destroy the entire IT system, which is worrying and enough to make us vigilant.”
With the rise of online education, schools are becoming the next target of hackers
Currently, students in grades 6-12 of the school have suspended using the K12 platform system, but students in lower grades are still using it.
A K12 spokesperson said that the school will decide whether to allow senior students to return to the platform before next week.
The process of shifting from offline education to online is cumbersome and requires a period of adaptation. This is true for students, teachers, and platforms. For example, due to the shift to online, the preparation and training of teachers and students have lags to a certain extent. There have also been fierce debates about how long teachers must provide online tutoring to students, and whether they should use idle classrooms or vacation time to provide various assistance to students.
Levin said that with the progress of online education, schools have gradually become targets of hackers and cyber attacks. In response to this, he believes that corresponding measures should be taken to ensure better, more comprehensive and safer education.
In addition to schools, many local governments have also become targets of cyber attacks. Last year, hackers hacked into the networks of Lake City in North Florida and Riviera Beach in Palm Beach County and successfully extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransoms.
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