The results of the final exams of almost twenty schools came in later today due to a ‘very large DDoS attack’. As a result, some of the results could only be processed at a later date. The attack has now been repulsed and the software is working properly again.
A Somtoday spokesperson confirms this to the Algemeen Dagblad . Somtoday is a company that provides about two hundred educational institutions with software to calculate the results of final exams. The company kept track of today’s developments in a live blog .
“Four million requests per second”
Schools with a student tracking system were able to collect the results of the final exams from 8:00 this morning. After half an hour Somtoday employees received an error message in the log. As a result, the result calculation could not be performed. A patch was applied up to two times to fix the problems.
In the majority of schools, the software did exactly what it was supposed to do and the final exam results were processed correctly and on time. In 15 per cent of the results – about eighteen schools – things went wrong. That was because hackers carried out a “very large DDoS attack ” while performing the software updates.
“We were getting four million requests to the server per second. And it also took a very long time. Quite a few bitcoins were probably thrown at this,” a Somtoday spokesperson told NU.nl.
The latest final exam results were calculated ‘with flying speed’
At some schools, teachers manually calculated the final exam results on the basis of the exam standard. “Until the signal was given that the results were still coming in,” Margret Hacking, deputy director at Eijkhagen College in Landgraaf, told Algemeen Dagblad. That was a little after 9:30 this morning.
Other schools had to wait well into the afternoon for the redeeming word. This caused extra stress for many students and their parents.
The software is now working again and Somtoday has repelled the DDoS attack by blocking foreign IP addresses . Also reCAPTCHA was enabled, a system to confirm that someone is a human and not a bot. Then the latest results were drawn up for schools ‘with flying speed’.
Somtoday is considering filing a report
“We find it very sour that students have to wait, I understand how annoying that can feel,” says a spokesperson for Somtoday. The software developer investigates the events and evaluates exactly what happened. The company is considering filing a report with the police, NU.nl writes.