Hacker attacks CPS servers, causing recent Wi-Fi outages


photo by Abby Kempf

Grace Dorsey

Teachers and students alike felt frustration as the school’s Wi-Fi crashed, Tuesday and Thursday of this past week. In fact, all of CPS experienced these Wi-Fi outages, leaving many classrooms in the dark ages.
The Instructional Technologies team of CPS investigated the cause of the crashes and discovered this was no accident; instead, they found a breach of security: a hacker.
“Most of the internet troubles that we experienced on Monday and then again on Thursday were due to a EDoS service attack, which is similar to an attack that took down the City of Columbia website for several days last year, “ Julie Nichols, Manager of Technology Instruction at CPS said. “Basically it’s being attacked by a hacker from the outside and what it does is fills up our internet pipe because someone is streaming us … with such as velocity that we lose internet connection.”
These incidents have had a big impact on all schools, as they rely on access to the internet in order to conduct key operations.
“The Wi-Fi outages really affected us. We were not able to access schoology, our google drive which handles all of our share files with our students and our daily agendas,” Sandy Morrow, a teacher at the Columbia Area Career Center said. “So it was very disruptive for us.”
Teachers weren’t able to pull up online class plans or assignments for students. But they aren’t the only ones at a disadvantage. Sophomore Nicole Karasiuk experienced the outage right in the middle of an assessment, which turned into extra work for her and her classmates.
“I was taking the district assessments, so we had to push it back until today and Friday to finish them because we couldn’t do it on the days we were supposed to,” Karasiuk said. “So now we have to all these extra chapters out of class, which is really annoying.”
This isn’t the first time Karasiuk has had issues with the school’s spotty internet connection.
“It frequently goes in and out. It takes longer to log onto the computer, which I get that. But when you can’t do certain things that you are required to do,” Karasiuk said. “During AUT you have to type something or do research and then the Wi-Fi is out.”
Currently the district has three teams investigating the issue, so it does not take as long to correct as last year’s City of Columbia website fiasco.

“They’ve just been spamming hype with all kinds of information so the network team and the server team and more nets have been trying to reroute the traffic so they can continue to have access,” Nichols said. “That’s what’s happening; someone was trying to hack in.”