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I have been on the phone to Bedford School. They have promised to discover the culprit. If they don't, I have threatened to call in the police. This is an example of business sabotage and needs to be dealt with.

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I have been on the phone to Bedford School. They have promised to discover the culprit. If they don't, I have threatened to call in the police. This is an example of business sabotage and needs to be dealt with.

In the meantime I have banned the entire IP range of Bedford School

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Just to clarify we have been hit by three serious problems in the last few days

1. Invision (our hosts) developed serious server problems resulting in 6 days of downtime whilst they struggled to put it right

2. Just as we got back online yesterday and today we have been hit by a massive surge from IP 62.49.8.116 which threatened to knock us offline.

3. At this the same time as this bandwidth hog our text advertisers went down slowing the forum to a snail's pace as the board software searched in vain to find the ads feed.

I am hoping for a change in fortune from now :rolleyes:

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As you probably know this forum recently suffered from another "denial of service" attack. A brief history of these attacks. The first attack took place in January, 2004. We were alerted to it by Lindy Throgmartin the Chief Operating Officer of Invision Power Services who wrote to Andy Walker about an IP "attacking the site" accounting for 9GB of our bandwidth (98% of our monthly total). It was 62.49.8.116. The IP being used by Bedford School. Invision banned them from the site.

The second attack occurred in Sept 2004 from IP 194.176.158.32. Andy and myself discovered that the source of this attack came from within the East of England Broadband Network (E2BN). I contacted E2BN and they were able to trace the attack as coming from Bedford School. I phoned the head, Philip Evans, who put me in contact with their network manager, Bob Eadie. He could not explain why this had taken place but assured us he would make sure it did not happen again. We believed him.

On 13th October, 2005, we changed our server. This altered our settings and soon afterwards we suffered another attack from Bedford School. This makes it clear that Eadie had never dealt with the problem in the first place. Andy immediately banned the IP. The site logs then show that in the next 24 hours the Bedford server tried to access our website 880,000 times.

I contacted Bob Eadie again. This time I threatened him with the police. He came back within 24 hours and claimed he had located the problem. He claimed that Bedford School had installed software four years ago that downloaded sites to their own server for their students to use offline. He claims that this process took place between 1 and 3 in the morning. He added that the history department must have requested a website that linked to the International Education Forum. According to him, this software not only downloaded requested sites but all those sites linked to the Forum. This is of course untrue. This software only downloads individual websites. Before you can do this you have to get permission from the copyright owners. They cannot give permission from all those websites linked to their website. Even so, you can see what kind of practical problems you would encounter if you did this. It would not take long before you are downloading millions of websites. I also pointed out that only a couple of websites provides links to the Education Forum. That includes Andy's and mine. Both of us had not given permission for our websites to be downloaded.

Bob Eadie replied that one of the nominated websites was History for Kids (http://www.historyforkids.org/). On one of its pages it had a link to my Teaching History Newsletter. According to Bob Eadie, after downloading the whole of History for Kids website it started downloading all its links. This included Spartacus Educational. Then it downloaded all my external links. This included the International Educational Forum website. It therefore tried to download the whole of this website which had the effect of trying to bring it down. As you can see, this is all a lot of nonsense. Someone at Bedford School had targeted our website. As there is no reason in the world that any teacher could explain why they needed to download our Forum, they had to come up with this story about it being linked to another website. I then asked Bob Eadie if a James Potter had asked for these history websites to be downloaded onto the Bedford server (according to the school website Potter was a member of the history department with responsibility for ICT). He said he could not remember.

I then had an interesting email from Eadie. He had spoken to Potter about this. He claims that his name had been mentioned by me because I was angry with him for not joining the International Education Forum. He said he prefered the School History Forum. I have never had contact with James Potter about joining our Forum. Nor had I mentioned the School History Forum to Eadie or Potter.

Unlike last time I will not drop this matter. My main concern is to find out who has targeted our Forum. I am especially interested in why he has done it. I am now about to put the matter into the hands of Bedford School's headmaster. Unless he comes up with answers to my questions we will be taking legal action against his school. We will also be reporting this matter to the police.

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John has posted an accurate precis of what has been going on since last January.

My own experience of downloading websites is fairly limited. I have placed my own site + parts of the schools content on CDs for students who don't have internet connections using a program called Superbot http://www.sparkleware.com/superbot/

There are many other similar pieces of software available to carry out such a task.

What I have noticed with such products is that they download all files from the named domain but will not download external links. I have also managed to download my entire site (120MB+) without any negative impact on my server.

I therefore find Mr Eadie's story quite implausible.

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John writes:

I contacted Bob Eadie again. This time I threatened him with the police. He came back within 24 hours and claimed he had located the problem. He claimed that Bedford School had installed software four years ago that downloaded sites to their own server for their students to use offline. He claims that this process took place between 1 and 3 in the morning. He added that the history department must have requested a website that linked to the International Education Forum. According to him, this software not only downloaded requested sites but all those sites linked to the Forum. This is of course untrue. This software only downloads individual websites. Before you can do this you have to get permission from the copyright owners. They cannot give permission from all those websites linked to their website. Even so, you can see what kind of practical problems you would encounter if you did this. It would not take long before you are downloading millions of websites. I also pointed out that only a couple of websites provides links to the Education Forum. That includes Andy's and mine. Both of us had not given permission for our websites to be downloaded.

Downloading someone else’s website without their express permission onto an intranet or a CD-ROM constitutes breach of copyright. See the following document at BECTA’s website (extract follows). We make a very clear statement at the ICT4LT site (which I manage) that downloading the site or individual pages of the site to an intranet is only allowed subject to the payment of an annual franchise fee of £250.

Copyright involving electronic materials: advice and issues for schools

http://www.ictadvice.org.uk/downloads/guid..._electronic.doc

Can I save web sites to my network in order ensure that my pupils are only accessing sites with appropriate content?

Saving entire web sites for use off line, otherwise known as webwhacking, does breach copyright because it involves copying the web site to a local drive, either a network server or a computer’s hard drive. As well as the straightforward legal issue that copying has occurred without the copyright holder’s consent, there are other issues.

The site content will only be as up to date as the last time it was saved; it will not reflect updates and new content that may be available via the on line version. By accessing the site off line, you are also depriving the on line version of visitors, which may have funding and advertising revenue implications for the site’s owner.

From a practical point of view, to have a fairly good selection of web sites saved would require a significant amount of memory and, compared to the resources available on line, it would not reflect the size and diversity of the Internet.”

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The information about school's downloading website's is rubbish! What they may have in place is a caching server this automatically saves websites locally when a site is accessed it gets the main parts from the cache and new information from the website server.

There is no reason they a school would need to download a website especially a forum, They would be no point downloading a forum due to the simple fact it uses a database and there is no way to download this database where the information has been held. I am very surprised Invision have not actually took some sort of legal action themselves considering it is there network/server and i assume other customers will be using the same server this forum is hosted on thus effecting there uptime.

Invision are becoming a real pain with all these updates, not sure if you know but this forum is actually out of date again :(

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Caching is, of course, perfectly legitimate - if that's what the school in question is doing, but it sounds as if they may actually be "whacking" selected sites, and this is illegal if it's done without requesting permission from the site owners. As stated in another part of the BECTA document to which I referred:

"Permissible uses with respect to ICT are:

web browsers making a temporary copy of a web page or relevant files, otherwise known as caching, as it is integral to accessing the Internet and using it efficiently,

etc..."

I have, however, caught out a couple of schools that have downloaded pages from the ICT4LT website to their intranet without paying the required franchise fee. They took them down when I got wind of what they were doing and contacted them. I even found one school that had placed one of my articles on their own public Web page. Again, they took it down when I reprimanded them. Teachers often fail to realise that if something is on the Web it is still subject to copyright.

Caches can be a bit of a pain, eating into one's hard disk space. I use Window Washer to clean up my hard disk whenever my computer boots up.

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Caching is, of course, perfectly legitimate - if that's what the school in question is doing, but it sounds as if they may actually be "whacking" selected sites

I think the evidence would suggest that they are doing something a great deal more malicious than that. My logs would suggest that the Education Forum has been repeatedly and deliberately attacked from somone operating within the IP range of Bedford School. If we also assume that the someone in question knew we were a limited bandwidth site we are left just looking for a motive..... incidentally the attacks started 3 weeks after we set up :(

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I think the evidence would suggest that they are doing something a great deal more malicious than that. My logs would suggest that the Education Forum has been repeatedly and deliberately attacked from somone operating within the IP range of Bedford School. If we also assume that the someone in question knew we were a limited bandwidth site we are left just looking for a motive..... incidentally the attacks started 3 weeks after we set up :(

Bob Eadie is clearly lying about the use of this software. As Graham has pointed out, it is illegal for any school to download a website onto its own server without first gaining permission from the copyright owners. Nor does it make sense to download onto your server a Forum website. Bedford School has never approached Spartacus Educational or the Education Forum for permission to download our websites onto their server. Therefore, they have had to make up this preposterous story that this software downloads websites linked to the original site targeted (History for Kids). Also our logs clearly show that Bedford School continuously attempted to download our site (not between 1 and 3 pm as they have claimed).

I do not believe Bob Eadie is the person who is behind these attacks. He is obviously doing it to protect someone at his school. I believe I know the identity of this person. I also believe he set this software up on behalf of another individual. I suspect that if we maintain the pressure on Bedford School (I will be dealing directly with the head, Philip Evans, from Monday) we will eventually get the names of these people who have repeatedly tried to bring this Forum down.

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I have just come off the phone with Philip Evans. He is very upset with the fact that I have posted details of our conflict with Bedford School on this Forum. He has claimed that I have libelled Bob Eadie and suggested he will take legal action against me. Of course it is an empty threat and during the conversation he admitted that Eadie had lied to me about not downloading the Spartacus Educational website onto the Bedford School server. The new story is that their software only downloaded four pages from the Spartacus website and four links from my website. He claims that this was like photocopying a page from a textbook and therefore they did not need to get copyright permission from me. It also his attempt to explain why Bedford School tried to download the Education Forum "it must have been a glitch in the software". All nonsense of course.

The other thing Philip Evans threatened me with was that he is going to call in an expert to examine their server. If he discovers that Bob Eadie is telling the truth he will send me the expert’s bill.

He has gone away promising to try and discover why his server was trying to access the Forum 880,000 times a day. I await his telephone call.

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I've never encountered this problem with a forum before:

I normally 'right-click' links to open them in a new window.

On this forum I can't do that. If I right-click a link, it will not activate a menu - simply nothing happens. I always have to click the link and open in the same window, or use the file menu to open a new window (i.e. a copy of the first) and then activate the link from there.

This is occuring with my IE 5.5 at work, and Netscape 7.03 at home.

Anyone else finding this problem?

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I've never encountered this problem with a forum before:

I normally 'right-click' links to open them in a new window.

On this forum I can't do that. If I right-click a link, it will not activate a menu - simply nothing happens. I always have to click the link and open in the same window, or use the file menu to open a new window (i.e. a copy of the first) and then activate the link from there.

This is occuring with my IE 5.5 at work, and Netscape 7.03 at home.

Anyone else finding this problem?

No, but I don't see this as a major problem.

What is a problem is that someone at Bedford School has repeatedly tried to bring down this Forum. Philip Evans, the Bedford School headmaster, is very upset that we have identified Bedford School as doing this, they are now threatening us with legal action if we do not take down this thread. Philip Evans might find these bullying tactics works with his own staff, they will not work with me.

It seems that as Bedford School is unwilling to try to discover the people behind this attack, we will have to put the matter into the hands of the police. Bedford School will also be receiving a bill for illegally downloading the Spartacus Educational website and for the massive disruption they have caused the International Education Forum.

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John, do you have any hint or clue to a motivation?

Yes. But the head is unwilling to confirm this. All I can say at this time is that it has nothing to do with Watergate of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

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