SiteGround Suffers Major Denial of Service Attack

SiteGround, our website hosting server, reports that their servers have been under a Denial of Service attack. SELCO and Online Library websites hosted by SiteGround were down for approximately 25 minutes as a result of this attack. While SiteGround appears to have recovered and all websites are back up, it is important to note that such attacks are difficult to manage.  We will continue monitoring the situation this afternoon.

Thank you for your patience.

Meet Libby – The New OverDrive App

Libby, the one-tap reading app from OverDrive, is now available for your new users to download and enjoy.

As previewed in May, Libby is now being promoted on the OverDrive digital catalog, and OverDrive invites you to spread the word about Libby to your community. Visit their Resource Center for all your Libby needs, including a marketing kit, staff training, answers to FAQs, and more.

Stay tuned for more information later this year about what’s next for Libby! If you have any questions, please contact Matthew Jurns at mjurns@overdrive.com.

Firewall Testing Resumes on June 19

As discussed in this post on June 02, we are preparing to install a new firewall. This is a complex project that requires a great deal of testing before we launch. Said testing will resume this Monday, June 19, and continue each weekday until further notice. As before, testing will be carried out each morning from 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM. During this time, SELCO technology services may experience brief interruptions. For further information, please see the original June 02 post.

Thank you for your patience as we strive to provide the most robust and stable library technology services possible. Please contact the Help Desk with any questions on the new firewall or our testing process.

WordPress Update Coming in the Next 24 Hours

WordPress has announced a non-security update to there software which will be automatically installed in the next 24 hours.  Based on the release notes, this appears to be a minor update.  Nevertheless, we will be checking SELCO-hosted library websites on Friday (June 9) morning to make sure that everything works.  This will include the SELCO plugins; if you have installed other plugins on your own, please take a moment on Friday to ensure they are still working.

Please contact the SELCO Help Desk with any questions.

Firewall Testing Starts on June 06 With Minor Service Interruptions

Executive Summary: Between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM from Tuesday, June 06, through Thursday, June 08, SELCO will conduct testing of our new firewall in preparation for putting it into production by July 01. During these periods, technology services may be unavailable for brief periods. We do not expect all services to be down at the same time. It is impossible to predict when or if a given service will be unavailable during the testing period.

More Details: It had a good run but the time has come to retire the firewall in the SELCO office. As you probably know already, a firewall is a device that screens communications between a local network and the internet.* The firewall that protects the SELCO office, its PCs, and servers (including Horizon) is several years old now and, rather than risk it failing unexpectedly some day, we are putting it out to pasture. Which means we need to install a new firewall.

This is not a simple task. Firewalls do their magic through a complex database of rules governing what kinds of internet traffic is allowed in/out and what gets blocked. Misconfiguring a rule can result in serious problems; traffic that you want (like Horizon) might get blocked while stuff you don’t want gets in. In theory, you can copy the rule set from your old firewall to the new one but it’s never that simple. Variations in the way different firewalls operate always require tweaking and testing.

We ordered our new firewall last month and have been configuring it with all the rules it needs to manage our internet traffic. It’s time to start testing live. From Tuesday, June 06, through Thursday, June 08, we will conduct testing between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM. During this two-hour window, we will:

  • disconnect the old firewall
  • connect the new firewall
  • test our technology services, connections, and operations
  • resolve issues that emerge and test again

We’ll keep this up until we are confident that everything works with the new firewall just as it did with the old. The license on the old firewall expires on July 01, at which point it will stop functioning.  Our goal is to have the new firewall in place no later than June 23.

During the 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM window on Tuesday, June 06, through Thursday, June 08, there will be (hopefully) brief outages of various services. We do not expect all services to be down at the same time and it’s impossible to predict what might go down at any given moment. By conducting our testing early in the morning after schools have largely let out, we hope to avoid excessive inconvenience to libraries and library patrons. Depending on how things go, we may have to add additional testing days; in that event, we will post an update to this news item.

Thank you for your patience as we strive to provide the most robust and stable library technology services possible. Please contact the Help Desk with any questions on the new firewall or our testing process.

*The term is also used for software that protects a PC but that’s a topic for another time.

Enterprise Security Upgrade

On Tuesday, May 30, SirsiDynix will be performing an upgrade to SELCO’s instance of the Enterprise public catalog. At 8 am, there will be an outage for about half an hour as they implement the certificates and reboot the server to change Enterprise to SSL (https). This should address several security concerns as well as some Firefox issues.

There may be some oddities in the catalog following the restart as SELCO updates custom work to reflect the change. This should be completed Tuesday but if anything is found after that, please contact the Help Desk.

There will be re-direction rules put in place to move links over from the http version to the https version. Links on member websites will need to be updated eventually but there shouldn’t need to be a rush.

Net Neutrality Under Attack: How the FCC’s vote is likely to affect libraries

This is excerpted from a blog post to American Libraries that can be found in its entirety here.  

 May 18, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today to begin dissolving Obama-era regulations regarding net neutrality, and reactions from the library community are not positive.

“I see it as a trend that is going to take us backward in time,” says Mike Robinson, professor of library science and head of the systems department at the Consortium Library of the University of Alaska Anchorage. “The internet is supposed to represent a democratization of access to information, and libraries are part of that democratization movement. Getting rid of net neutrality undermines that.”

The American Library Association (ALA) agrees, releasing a May 18 statement from ALA President Julie B. Todaro. “Net neutrality is critical to ensuring open and nondiscriminatory access to information for all, and today’s actions by the FCC endanger that,” the statement reads. “We are at risk of maximizing profits for commercial [internet service providers] and large content providers, while degrading internet access and choice for libraries and ultimately all consumers.”

Specifically, the FCC voted to review rules passed in 2015—rules that prevent internet providers from charging extra to deliver specific content more quickly and from blocking or slowing web sites. Under those rules, broadband services are classified as a utility-like service, similar to electricity or water.

Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai holds that the 2015 rules have not only caused the telecommunications industry to reduce investment in broadband access but have also given regulators excessive control over the internet. He and his fellow Republican on the FCC, Mike O’Rielly, voted for the rules’ review, while Democrat Mignon Clyburn voted against it.

The public will now be able to comment on the FCC’s proposal. When the comment period ends later this year, the agency will create a specific order and vote on it.

 

More information on the FCC proposal can be found here. Instructions for commenting on it can be found here.