ontario school hacker

Someone hacked a virtual classroom in Ontario with porn and kidnapping threats

Parents of Grade 4 students at Chris Hadfield Public School in Mississauga were horrified this week to learn that an external party had hacked into the school's e-learning module to display images of "two men engaging in oral sex" in the middle of a French lesson.

And that was only Tuesday.

"Good Afternoon, I'm sure many of you are aware already, but I just wanted to let you know in case your child hasn't mentioned it to you," reads a letter sent to parents of the roughly nine-year-old children on Tuesday, as obtained and published by CityNews.

"Today in French class, someone outside of the school and as far as we know, outside of our school board, was able to enter into the Google classroom and started sharing some disturbing and inappropriate images."

The letter explains that, while the French teacher did boot the rogue participant out of the meet as fast as possible and have children log off, "unfortunately, some students did see some of the images."

"[Redacted] has contacted the principal and they will be further contacting the tech team with the board to look further into the matter to ensure that it does not happen again and to find out how it happened in the first place," reads the letter, as posted by CityNews.

But it did happen again — the very next day.

A second email, sent from the French teacher to parents on Wednesday, January 13, reads as following:

"As I'm sure you are aware, there was another instance of hacking today in our class. This time it was only audio and seemed to be on repeat," the email reads, referring to what City's Michelle Mackey later described as "a man saying 'let's talk about kidnapping.'"

"I asked students to leave our meet right away and reset our class code immediately. Unfortunately, the same person entered again right before the end of the day with a similar message playing."

The Peel District School Board confirmed in a statement that a class at Chris Hadfield Public School had recently "experienced two occasions where at least one unknown individual entered the online classroom without having access to the classroom link."

"We take all matters of online safety, student privacy and digital citizenship very seriously. The board's IT department is currently investigating," says the board.

Parents may be understandably disturbed — perhaps even hesitant to see their children go back into a virtual classroom — but for this particular class, anyway, lessons have been "moved to another secure virtual environment for synchronous learning."

"In the meantime, it may be a good idea for students to change their password for the school email address just in case," advised the French teacher in an email to parents.

"I will reiterate with students the importance of never sharing passwords and class meet codes with people outside our class."

Based on the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, schools in Peel, Toronto, York, Hamilton and Windsor-Essex are all currently closed for in-person instruction under an emergency order and will not reopen until at least February 10.

E-learning is the only option for students in these regions to continue their studies amid the recently-implemented stay-at-home order, but reported instances of hackers locally have been relatively low given how many students are currently attending classes online.

Said the Peel District School Board in its statement: "We take all matters of online safety, student privacy and digital citizenship very seriously."

Lead photo by

lucas law


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