“The dog ate my homework” is tricky to pull off as an excuse in the digital age. In Russia, savvy students have gone about avoiding schoolwork in a different manner: using their technology nous to take down educational websites.
During the lockdown, the number of so-called ‘distributed denial-of-service’ (DDoS) attacks on Russian websites increased five times, with the majority being targeted at educational resources. In such an attack, an internet user can flood a website with so much traffic that the incoming server can’t handle the overload and fails.
According to Rostelecom, the country’s leading internet service provider, electronic school diaries, websites with test work, and other resources for online lessons were the targets of the attacks, suggesting they were conducted by the students themselves.
Ivan Miroshnichenko, who works in Rostelecom’s cybersecurity department, says the cost of staging a DDoS attack is very low and, therefore, accessible even to teenagers with little money. The cost of a server to carry out the most common attacks is only about $56 per month.
Russian schools have been closed since mid-March, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Classes, and even some exams, are currently being conducted online.