One computer causes campus-wide problems


    By Scott Smith

    A small security breach on one BYU computer was responsible for Tuesday morning network problems.

    The Office of Information Technology reported that an unauthorized person used a campus computer to perform a denial of service attack on an off-campus location.

    A denial of service attack consists of a computer being set to send multiple requests to the same place. When enough requests are made, usually by many computers in multiple locations, it overwhelms the receiving server, causing it to crash.

    The network slowdown began at 8 a.m. By 10 a.m. workers for the Office of Information Technology found the computer and shut it down immediately.

    Even after the attack was stopped, it took some time for the system to catch up.

    Jim Sands, a customer service representative for the Office of Information Technology said the e-mail servers were unable to send many messages until after the attack was stopped and the bandwidth restored.

    “After the problem was remedied, 5,000 emails were queued to get out,” Sands said.

    Sands said the problem caused such a clog of information that one test e-mail took over two hours to be delivered across campus.

    Christine Oakes, the manager of sales and support for the customer relations department of the Office of Information Technology said the problem affected Internet connectivity. Oakes said people on and off campus were affected.

    Anyone trying to access the BYU homepage, Route Y, or other collage servers found the connection to be very slow.

    Oakes said the offending computer ate up around 98 percent of the bandwidth used to connect all BYU computers to the Internet.

    Even with a problem of this nature, Oakes said the traffic on the Office of Information Technologies customer support line, 378-4000, was not abnormal, probably because most students were in class at the time.

    The Office of Information Technology said even though the offending computer was not one directly administered by the Office of Information Technologies, it is important to make sure proper software patches are in place so security breaches like this do not occur.

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