Rio Rancho Public Schools has caught the hacker who caused problems for the district in September.

Rio Rancho Public Schools main office.
(File photo/ Rio Rancho Observer)

After being the victim of a “distributed denial-of-service” (DDOS) attack, which occurs when multiple IP addresses try to connect to a system to overwhelm resources and bring down critical network services, RRPS reported the cyber-attack to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center and decided to offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the individual or individuals responsible.

District logs showed traffic was sourced from what appeared to be thousands of IP addresses hitting the interface at the same time, mostly from outside of the U.S. The district’s Information Technology Department was able to fight off the attack without any student or staff data being compromised, installing additional safeguards to protect data against these types of attacks.

The reward was posted because RRPS officials believed a cash incentive could lead to acquaintances of the “attackers” revealing the sought-after information.

It paid off: In October, several students came forward with information about a student who might have initiated the attack. The IT Department, with assistance from the Rio Rancho Police Department, confirmed the suspected student had initiated the September attack.

Several students split the reward. Due to privacy regulations, RRPS would not identify the suspect, but RRPS concluded the matter was investigated fully and is being addressed.