DDoS Attacks Impact the Janet Network & Connected Universities

Joy Reo
By | April 21, 2016

Posted in: Network Security Trends

Last week the Janet Network, the government-funded educational network used by many universities in the United Kingdom, experienced another serious DDoS attack. This is the second attack in five months; the first occurred in early December. According to the network administrators, the Janet network was stable as of April 19.

In December, according to The Register, the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc), the non-departmental public body in the UK which administrates Janet, permanently removed open public access to Janet information, in an effort to reduce the risk of another DDoS attack.

The Impacts of DDoS Attacks on Janet

As an outsider, it’s hard to accurately gauge the impact of the DDoS attacks on the daily life of the students and faculty who use Janet. But presumably these DDoS attacks have negatively impacted the productivity of the 18 million students, faculty and administrators who rely on Janet. One article pointed out that both DDoS attacks occurred at the end of term for students, which must have created some major problems.

This latest attack succeeded in its purpose: to cripple the Janet network. But it’s important to note that DDoS attacks can be constant, low-hum, everyday occurrences that go unnoticed. Corero research has shown that many DDoS attacks are low-volume and thus are not detected by traditional scrubbing solutions, yet such attacks can still significantly drag down network performance. Furthermore, low-threshold DDoS attacks are increasingly used as a smokescreen to distract security personnel and their logging tools from identifying more malicious data breach and exfiltration activity.

DDoS Attack Prevention Method

It’s important for law enforcement to be notified of security breaches, but tracking down black hat hackers is often a difficult and drawn-out process. DDoS attack sources are tough to trace, and law enforcement resources are already stretched, so it’s unlikely the hackers will be found. Even if the Janet hackers are apprehended, university officials should not expect that would prevent another DDoS attack: DDoS attacks are easy to launch and very common. For every hacker that gets caught, others are waiting in the wings to launch another attack.

Because DDoS attacks are so common, universities can’t afford to adopt a “whack-a-mole” approach. They need real-time, automatic protection against DDoS attacks to protect network services, maintain availability and protect users and their confidential data against more malicious cyber-attacks. The best way to protect a network from DDoS attacks is to deploy an in-line, automated DDoS mitigation solution.

Download Corero’s DDoS Detection and Mitigation Solutions for Janet Connections solution brief!

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