Down homepage soon to be running

Students, faculty and staff ran into complications Tuesday, when Goshen College’s web server was not working.

The server failed around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday after a security breach.

Michael Sherer, director of information technology, is in charge of the server and has been working since Tuesday to restore the site.

“Some security breaches are relatively undestructive—you patch them up and move on,” Sherer said. “This one actually vandalized the machine.”

Sherer said that the degree of destruction “complicates the recovery,” so unlike usual when the server needs work, Sherer and others must rebuild the entire server.

Most of www.goshen.edu was back online by 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, but Sherer said most other parts of the site, such as GC Navigator, The Record Web site and personal pages, would be up sometime Thursday, while “other pieces will be continuing to be fixed over the next several weeks.”

He also reassured the Goshen College community in an e-mail Tuesday that “this breach did not involve unauthorized access to identity or financial information.”

Many students, like Chelsea Reiff, a senior, didn’t even realize the server was down until Sherer sent out his first e-mail.

“It didn’t affect me at all,” she said.

Reiff uses direct web addresses to get to important sites like Moodle and GC Online.  Goshen College’s Zimbra e-mail site was also not affected.

However, students and faculty who usually go to Goshen College’s homepage to access those sites were unable to get there.

Sherer said the server failure taught him how people maneuver around Goshen’s website, admitting that many sites weren’t affected, just “people’s normal pathway to get there.”

Sherer also said that, over the summer, ITS wanted to address and improve many of the aspects that made Goshen College’s server susceptible to security breaches, including using out-of-date software on some pages.

Now, while the server is down for the longest it has ever been, Sherer and his team are fixing what they can with plans to redo more of the site soon.

Written by Marlys Weaver

Marlys E. Weaver is a senior journalism major and editor-in-chief of The Record. She grew up living and working on a Guernsey farm and has worked at Maple City Market as a sales staff member and newsletter editor, and on an organic coffee farm in Peru, giving her a well-rounded interest in food and agriculture. She has also reported for "The Farmers' Exchange," "The Elkhart Truth," "The South Bend Tribune," and collaborated on a story on msnbc.com.

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