The official stuy.edu school e-mail system has been temporarily disabled due to the compounded effect of maintenance problems and hackers. It stopped working at the end of June, when the infrastructure was hacked and fell into disrepair.
“Someone was using our e-mail server to try to hack into other systems,” Assistant Principal Technology Edward Wong said. “[The e-mail system] got blacklisted and other e-mail systems weren’t accepting e-mail from us.”
According to Computer Science Coordinator Mike Zamansky, who set up the original e-mail server, this is partially a result of a faulty setup. The school had hired a computer specialist to help set up the server’s security system, and Zamansky had provided her with detailed instructions regarding the security settings of the system. However, the temporary employee never followed his directions. “There have been definite security holes from day one,” Zamansky said.
Aside from being hacked into, the system was not being maintained properly. “We don’t have an administrator who’s actively taking care of the system. Everything hadn’t been updated, like the servers and the program,” Zamansky said.
This is a direct result of the Department of Education’s regulations, which state that Stuyvesant is unable to pay a technology assistant more than a certain previously set, unpublicized salary. The salary is insufficient to hire a full-time, well-qualified computer technician, according to Zamansky.
While both Wong and Zamansky have the skills to maintain the system, neither has the time to do so. In addition, Zamansky does not have administrative access to the system, and Wong is unsure whether he has it himself, so they were unable to investigate the security breach. As a result, the identity and exact actions of the system’s hacker remain unknown.
The disabled e-mail system has created difficulties for some students and faculty.
“[It] is a really dysfunctional program, because right now, we’re not able to communicate with teachers,” junior Elina Bystritskaya said.
Math teacher Dr. Paul Fitzgerald said that although he rarely uses his stuy.edu e-mail, the problem “has the potential to become a hindrance” to student-teacher communication if it is not reinstated soon.
Other people claim the disabled system has had no effect.
“I didn’t even notice a change, because I never use my stuy.edu email,” junior Paula Tsvayg said.
Until the system is reopened, teachers and administrators can be reached through their Department of Education e-mail addresses, and students can redirect their stuy.edu e-mail to another account.
Wong and Zamansky plan on upgrading the e-mail system after beginning-of-semester scheduling is complete. The renovated system will be run through Google Apps. “We’ll keep using our old domain, stuy.edu, and instead of using our old mail server, we’ll use [Google’s],” Wong said.