Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Michigan School Hacked with Antisemitic, Racist, and Homophobic Messages by Group Outside of U.S.

A hacking group with a profane name posted a message at the top of the web page that read: “Good evening Troy School District! All the sites connected to your district have been hacked” by the group.

Troy School District also host the websites of the International Academy, a group of three high schools with campuses in Troy, Bloomfield Hills and White Lake, which also were included in the hack. It included slurs targeting Jews, Blacks, gays and “rednecks.”

“Earlier today our district website was hacked,” district spokeswoman Kerry Birmingham said in a statement. “Hate speech and graffiti was posted on all of our district websites and the system’s internal messenger was used to send emails to staff and some families. The language and images used were despicable, and we strongly denounce them.”

Birmingham said the district was working with the Michigan State Cyber Response Team to respond to the attack. The district websites were taken down to reset passwords and ensure that the hackers didn’t leave themselves entry points for future attacks. 

“Preliminary information shows that this hack generated from outside the country using a known malicious IP address and that no student information or sensitive data was comprised by the breach,” Birmingham said.

International Academy Principal Lynne Gibson alerted students in an email – “We are aware our IA website has been hacked,” Gibson wrote to students Monday afternoon. “The entire Troy School District website was hacked and they also house our site. They are working to disable it ASAP.”

It appears the offensive material was posted around 2 p.m. and taken down within 30 minutes or so.

Birmingham said the slurs were harmful and the district is working on plans to promote healing – “Hate has no place in the Troy School District; acts like this will not be tolerated,” she said. “This is a reminder of why our equity work is so important as we stand together as a school district community for respect and inclusion.”

In October, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools acknowledged that hackers using a different name breached their system with a ransomware attack that appears to have been far more serious than the hack Monday. In that case, hackers accessed personal information on both students and employees and began releasing it onto illicit corners of the internet known as the dark web.

The name of the group that targeted Walled Lake was also the name of the group that  has hit other school districts, including Fairfax County, Virginia, and Clark County, Nevada. In those attacks, the group also demanded ransom,  to be paid in cryptocurrency. There is no indication yet that Monday’s hack included a ransom demand.