On Monday morning, Rutgers University was still trying to recover from a distributed denial of service (DDoS ) attack that had been launched against it over the weekend, according to media reports. The attack, which began on Friday afternoon, interrupted Internet service for Rutgers students, faculty and staff, although no confidential information appears to have been leaked.
The university’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) had managed to restore Internet service on campus as of Monday, although some services remained unavailable for users trying to access the systems from off-campus. On Sunday, Don Smith, Rutgers’ vice president of Information Technology, alerted students to the attack via e-mail.
Attack Originated from Ukraine, China
“The Rutgers University network has been under an extended distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack since Friday, Mar. 27,” the university wrote in a security briefing on its computing services Web site on Sunday. “Since the initial attack, there have been multiple follow-up attacks. OIT has been working to maintain access to the network and IT services around the clock since the attacks began, but as fast as one service is fixed another is targeted.”
The FBI is investigating the attack, which is believed to have originated from China and the Ukraine, according to a report by the local New York NBC affiliate, citing a source at the university. The local Rutgers University police are also investigating the attack.
In addition to causing Internet service to slow down or become completely unavailable, the attack also managed to take down the Rutgers homepage for 15 minutes over the weekend. The university’s Sakai platform, which is an online tool used by both students and faculty, was also unavailable for off-campus users as of Sunday afternoon.
“Unfortunately, we have no ETA at this time for a permanent restoration of all affected services,” the university said on its Web site. “Normal service will be restored as soon as OIT is confident that the attacks are over.”
Rutgers No Stranger to DDoS
The attack is not the first the university has suffered. As recently as November, it experienced a similar DDoS attack that seemed to be timed to coincide with the period during which new students were registering for classes. During last year’s attack, the Rutgers network was shut down when a hacker flooded it with external communications requests.
Like the most recent attack, the November attack is thought to have originated in Eastern Europe and China, according to a report on the Daily Targum, the university’s official student newspaper. Last year’s attack lasted only about 24 hours, however, unlike the current attack from which the school is still recovering.
The day before the attack the school announced that it had been awarded $1.95 million by the federal government to develop a training program for the study of issues related to homeland security.