Walla Walla Community College is under cyberattack this week by what are believed to be foreign computers that have jammed the college’s Internet systems.
Bill Storms, technology director, described it as akin to having too many cars on a freeway, causing delays and disruption to those wanting to connect to the college’s website.
The type of attack is a distributed denial of service, or DDoS.
They’re often the result of hundreds or even thousands of computers outside the U.S. that are programed with viruses that continually connect to and overload targeted servers.
Storms said bandwidth monitors noticed the first spike of attacks on Sunday.
To stop the attacks, college officials have had to periodically shut down the Web connection while providing alternative working Internet links to students and staff.
The fix, so far, has only been temporary as the problem often returns the next day.
“We think we have it under control in the afternoon. And we have a quiet period,” Storm said.
“And then around 9 a.m. it all comes in again.”
Walla Walla Community College may not be the only victim of the DDoS attack.
Storm said he was informed that as many as 39 other state agencies have been the target of similar DDoS attacks.
As for the reason for the attack, none was given to college officials.
Storms noted campus operators did receive a number of unusual phone calls where the callers said that they were in control of the Internet. But no demands were made.
“Some bizarre phone calls came in, and I don’t know whether to take them serious or not,” Storms said.
State officials have been contacted and are aiding the college with the problem.
Storms said they have idea how long the DDoS attack will last.