Hagerstown’s only area-wide high-speed internet provider is broken. Problems began last Wednesday evening. We were watching something on Netflix and we lost our Internet connection. The following morning, I rebooted our cable modem and our connection to the Internet returned.
Late that afternoon, we lost the Internet again. Once again I rebooted the cable modem and the Internet returned. A few hours later, I had to do the same thing again.
Since then, I’ve been rebooting the cable modem every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I even had to move the cable modem so I could more easily get to the power button. Rebooting the cable modem on a constant basis is now the new normal.
According to Hagerstown’s newspaper of record, the Herald-Mail, Antietam Broadband is blaming the issue on a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
The president of Antietam Broadband said Sunday evening that a disruption in the company’s internet and phone services over several days was the result of a “multi-pronged concerted attack” that forced the company to consult local and national experts to resolve the incident.
Normally I would dismiss anything the Herald-Mail says about Antietam Broadband because the two companies are owned by Schurz Communications Inc. That not true anymore. GateHouse Media LLC. purchased all the newspapers owned by Schurz, including the Herald-Mail, on February 1 of this year.
What I find interesting about the article is what it doesn’t mention. When asked if Antietam Broadband contacted law enforcement, company president Brian Lynch was wishy-washy in his answer.
From the Herald-Mail:
He said he could not comment on whether law enforcement will be consulted on the attack, which came from outside the company’s network.
A DDoS attack is a crime
I deduce from that statement that law enforcement has not been notified. A DDoS attack is a crime. When you operate a bank and your bank is being robbed, you don’t consult local and national bank robbery experts. No, you call the police. I’m not saying the Hagerstown Police or Maryland State Police would be able to solve this. Local law enforcement would contact the FBI. The FBI would be able to find out who’s committing this crime and bring them to justice.
Consulting local and national “experts” to resolve this problem was the wrong move. For all anyone knows, the local and national experts may be the ones behind the attack. Until law enforcement investigates, anyone with knowledge and the means to carry out this type of attack, especially when that someone is local, is a possible suspect. At the very least, they need to be ruled out by the feds.
I’m extremely disappointed by Antietam Broadband’s mishandling of this problem. Once they determined the outages were caused by a DDoS attack, they should have immediately contacted law enforcement. The fact that they have not done so makes me wonder if the problem is truly related to a DDoS attack or something far less dramatic on their side.
Reportedly, Antietam Broadband is offering refunds for the outage periods. That’s not good enough. When the service goes down and it cannot be restored by rebooting the cable modem, it means we cannot access Netflix, HBO Now, or MLB.tv. Will Antietam Broadband issue refunds for those streaming services too? Of course not. I’m also concerned about the power button on my Netgear AC1750 WiFi Cable Modem. It’s constructed of simple plastic with a cheap metal spring. I’m not sure the power button was designed to be cycled as much as I’ve been cycling it. I had to reboot the modem half-way into last night’s episode of Game of Thrones.
I will be switching to another high-speed Internet provider as soon as one becomes available.