By Joe Harten Hoya Staff Writer

A primitive computer attack caused GUSA’s first online election to stop running on Wednesday. GUSA and leaders of the Saxa server, the student-run Web server that GUSA chose as the platform for this year’s class representative elections, extended the voting period for an hour to make up for 45 minutes of lost balloting time.

“I suspect the attack was because of the election,” Saxa server founder Juan Pablo Liska (MSB ’00) said. “We have never had anything like this happen before, but it might also be that people have just now heard of the Saxa server, with the GUSA election.

“The results [of the election] were not compromised,” election commissioner Arjay Yao (COL ’00) said.

Liska and the Saxa server staff called University Information Systems to respond to the incident.

“The server was down for about 30 seconds,” Liska said. “But the election process was down for 45 minutes to an hour.” The GUSA elections, which were to run until 9 p.m., ran until 10 p.m. to make up for the lost time which occurred sometime between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., according to Yao.

“It was not a sophisticated attack,” Liska said. “The problem came from someone pinging Saxa every half second from the Harbin computer lab.”

Ping (packet internet groper) is a networking function that allows users to send a request to an Internet address to see if the site is running properly. The site, or server in this case, must respond to the request whenever the ping function is deployed.

Pinging slowed the server down and caused some functions of Web browsers to act incorrectly, according to Liska.

“The nature of a server is to respond to requests,” Liska said. “Saxa will no longer respond to ping.”

In the future Saxa plans to work more closely with UIS for events like election according to Liska.

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