FirstLight Helped Hudson City Schools Mitigate DDoS Attacks During Height of Pandemic

Albany, NY – November 16, 2021 – FirstLight, a leading provider of fiber-optic data, Internet, data center, cloud, and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, announced today that the Hudson City School District recently selected FirstLight for its DDoS Prevention and Mitigation Solution.

Located about 130 miles north of New York City, the Hudson City School District consists of an elementary school, junior high, and high school, with a total of 1,700 students. In 2020, FirstLight won an E-Rate* bid for network services for the district. Then in October of that year, during the height of the pandemic, the school experienced a string of DDoS attacks.

As was the case with so many schools across the country, Hudson was “100 percent dependent on the Internet” to teach during the pandemic, according to Cheryl A. Rabinowitz, Manager of Instructional Technology for the Hudson City School District Technology Department. “These DDoS attacks were devastating,” added Rabinowitz. “Teachers and support staff couldn’t teach, and students couldn’t learn. Losing connectivity happened a few times a day. Sometimes we were down for a short period and other times we were down for a couple of hours.”

During a DDoS attack, cybercriminals bombard a server with numerous requests for access — similar to having thousands of users trying to access a site at the same time. Because a server can only handle so many requests at once, the server slows down and eventually can become inaccessible.

Hudson School District chose FirstLight’s DDoS Protection and Mitigation solution to fight the DDoS assaults. Using analytics and machine learning algorithms from the DDoS portal, along with automated notifications of unusual traffic patterns, attacks were prevented or mitigated. Eventually, network connectivity resumed and became accessible once again to students and teachers. The DDoS solution allowed legitimate traffic to flow while filtering out or blocking malicious traffic.

“Unfortunately, cybercriminals often attack their victims when they are most vulnerable, as was the case when so many schools were dealing with the pandemic. We’re happy that our solution helped Hudson City School District fend off these attacks, and we feel honored to have played a role in safeguarding instruction for these kids,” said Len Camara, FirstLight’s Chief Information Officer.

“Experiencing how DDoS attacks can bring learning to a standstill is a lesson our school likely will never forget,” said Rabinowitz.

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About Hudson City School District

Overlooking the Hudson River, the Hudson City School District’s three schools serve a diverse student population of about 1,700 (K-12). The mission of the district, in partnership with the community, is to advance the intellectual, social and emotional development of all students to prepare them for college, career and citizenship. The district provides a variety of academic, extracurricular and civic opportunities to help students develop the essential skills they need to lead successful futures. It strives to support students as they develop the skills needed for success as college students, working professionals and responsible, contributing citizens.

About the Federal E-Rate Program

The Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate program provides discounts for connectivity solutions to eligible schools and libraries.