DDoS botnets target university and educational websites during term time

Educational websites suffered a rise in DDoS attacks in the third quarter of 2018.

According to a new report from Kaspersky Lab, there was a sharp spike in DDoS botnets targeting educational institutions at the start of the academic year.

The most prominent attacks struck the websites of Edinburgh University - one of the UK’s leading universities - and the US vendor Infinite Campus, which supports the parent portal for numerous public city schools.

Most of these DDoS attacks were carried out during term time and subsided during the holidays, the report found.

Separate research from UK non-profit research organisation Jisc backed up these findings, with its data showing that the number of attacks dropped when students were on holiday.

The number of attacks also decreases outside of study hours, with DDoS interference in university resources mainly occurring between 09:00 and 16:00.

Responsibility for the attacks could lie with the students, suggested Alexey Kiselev, business development manager on the Kaspersky DDoS Protection team.

“The example of DDoS attacks on universities, schools and testing centres presumably demonstrates attempts by young people to annoy teachers, institutions or other students, or maybe just to postpone a test,” he said.

“This sort of ‘initiative’ shown by students and pupils would be amusing if it didn’t cause real problems for the attacked organisations which, in turn, have to prepare to defend themselves against such attacks.”

Photo: LWYang/Wikipedia

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