By Ryan Smythe
It’s true. The International Quidditch Association is the latest governing body to fall prey to hackers. According to Executive Director Rebecca Alley, the organization first noticed the technical issues just under a month ago.
“[W]e no longer had access to edit anything and initially suspected there might have been miscommunication with the passwords,” she said over online correspondence. “However, shortly thereafter suspicious links started being added to the webpage and we realized we had been hacked. Because the site has been registered in volunteers’ names in the past, it has been difficult for us to prove ownership but we have been in correspondence with the server trying to solve this for the last few weeks.”
Because of this, the IQA has been unable to post any new or old content on the site since it went down on January 23. On top of that, no @iqaquidditch.org email accounts can be accessed, potentially leaving staff with inboxes filled with weeks worth of disgruntled quidditch players’ emails.
At the very least, this means that the IQA shouldn’t face the same type of community backlash as they did over the summer when communication issues (to phrase it lightly) caused a number of community members to voice serious concerns about the actions of our international governing body.
“On that note, if anyone has written an email to any of the IQA email addresses and hasn’t got a reply, please forward it to email@example.com,” said Alley. “[W]e are not intentionally ignoring folks, we just haven’t actually seen the emails.”
Alley does not believe that any of the volunteers were hacked in order to gain access which leaves their IT person, Michael Coffmann, with few leads at the moment. President of Congress Brian Gallaway, an IT person in his professional life, is adding his technological expertise to the problem, but it’s likely that answers will need to wait until after they regain control of the hijacked site.
“Our top priority is getting access to the site again,” said Alley. “[O]nce we have that we’ll be looking at safeguards against future attack, and some of those conversations have already started.”
If the worst comes to pass and the IQA is unable to regain control of their website, they have a plan B ready to go. “I can say with reasonable certainty that we’ll have *a* website back under our control in the next three weeks even if it might be under a new domain,” said Alley.
Hopefully it isn’t time to say goodbye to iqaquidditch.org just yet, but at the very least it’s nice to know that there’s some kind of backup plan in place.
Read the press release in its entirety here:
IQA’s Current Communications Difficulties
Many of you will have noted that the IQA website was down for approximately two days recently. We have been experiencing ongoing technological difficulties with our server and since that time have been unable to access or change content on the website, and believe it has been hacked due to the revenue-generating links currently on the website. We apologize for the difficulties this may have caused any of our community members, and any ongoing difficulties that result from our inability to access and update information on the website. At this time we are working with our server to prove ownership of the site and regain access.
The IQA feels that, given this situation has now been ongoing for quite some time, we owe the community more transparency and insight into why our website is stagnant and why information is only being published on Facebook. In their role to protect the assets and manage risk of the organization on behalf of the member NGB’s, the Trustees are being kept appraised of the situation.
“The IQA is committed to working in close co-operation with its member National Governing Bodies and everyone connected with our sport,” says Nicholas Oughtibridge, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Electronic media are critical to successful sharing of information and discussion. The IQA will do everything in its power to reclaim these critical channels so that we can restart that discussion.”
Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience as we resolve this and other challenges and look forward to working with the quidditch community to continue advancing our sport and putting on great events for our National Governing Body members. Please continue to follow us on our Facebook page for updates, and watch for a flood of updates to the website content when we regain access!