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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Hackers Beffudle ITS Firewall: Students Vexed

<ublished software Friday to help Mac users connect to eduroam, Carleton’s wireless provider.

The new program came just in time, however, for a series of internet attacks that paralyzed Carleton’s network intermittently throughout last weekend.

Since the beginning of term, some mac users have experienced difficulty connecting to eduroam when their computers wake from sleep or switch between network access points, according to Network Architect Chris Dlugosz ’92.

More than 1,000 secondary schools worldwide use eduroam, and some of the schools, including St. Olaf, have experienced similar network problems. In addition, Apple has recognized that its products may have difficulty connecting to secure networks such as eduroam. Both ITS and Apple have published steps for troubleshooting this problem.

In addition Friday, an attack aimed at a non-Carleton site reached the Carleton firewall. Carleton’s firewall was able to prevent the attack from reaching the Carleton network, but the firewall’s response caused intermittent network failures for students, faculty and staff, according to Director of ITS Austin Robinson-Coolidge in a campus-wide email.

In response to the network failures, ITS upgraded and restarted the firewall Monday, according to Robinson-Coolidge in a campus-wide email. The attacks continue, but do not affect the Carleton networks any longer. Robinson-Coolidge contacted Aruba, Carleton’s Internet service provider, which is working to eliminate the attacks fully.

Flooded this weekend with complaints from students about network failures, ITS workers have yet to determine whether the internet fix for Mac users was successful or whether those who installed Friday’s fix are still experiencing trouble connecting to eduroam.

Dlugosz said, “Because we fixed the Mac problem Friday and the attack happened over the weekend, we have no idea whether people who sent in tickets to the ITS helpdesk over the weekend were having issues with the fix we had just published or were experiencing network issues as a result of the attack.”

ITS is unsure of why these network issues have occurred and why they have not occurred to this degree in the past, according to Dlugosz. However, he noted that ITS upgraded its network software over the summer, which may have changed network settings or the way in which devices connect to the network. In addition, when ITS tested the network over the summer, it did not have as many people using the network on as many devices.

Students, faculty, and staff who still experience difficulty connecting to eduroam should contact the ITS helpdesk with precise information about the problem. The more data points ITS has, the more easily it can narrow down what network problems still exist and how to go about fixing them.

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