In May 15, KTVB reported that a student recently launched a cyber-attack on one of Idaho’s largest school districts. The attack, which was identified as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), practically rendered the entire district’s internet unable to function.
The attack was so powerful that it caused internet problems for the affected school district for weeks without ceasing. A lot of Idaho
students working on achievement tests lost all their data, and some even had to retake the exam multiple times because of the gravity of the attack. Even the administrative network itself, which, unfortunately, included the teachers’ payroll data was compromised.
A DDoS attack occurs when multiple systems compromised by a Trojan are used by a host, or in this case, a channel, to target a single host simultaneously causing a denial of service. In simple terms, the attack floods a single network with immeasurable internet traffic until it simply stops dead on its tracks. Most of these attacks exploit problems within the victim computer’s TCP/IP system.
Because a DDoS attack comes from hundreds, possibly even thousands of sources at once, it is practically impossible for any program on earth to track down the actual source of the problem. To make matters worse, a DDoS attack makes it impossible to identify actual, legitimate traffic, because everything gets lost in a haze of incoming data.
Despite the overwhelming odds, the authorities managed to trace the attacker’s IP address back to the high school student. Today, he faces the possibility of expulsion, as well as 180 days in a juvenile detention center. Authorities say that he might even be facing serious federal charges. Moreover, the culprit’s parents will also be expected to pay any losses that the school district has incurred due to the attacks.
A representative for the West Ada School District said that there might be other students within the area who know how to carry out this cyber-attack. Nevertheless, the spokesperson reassured everyone that further attacks will be dealt with more readily.
The district also sent a message to parents of students enrolled in their schools, urging them to help keep their children from committing cyber attacks.