Business & Tech

School websites hacked to show pro-Islamic State message

Islamic State fighters wave the group’s flag from a damaged display of a government jet in 2014.
Raqqa Media Center/Associated Press/File
Islamic State fighters wave the group’s flag from a damaged display of a government jet in 2014.

BLOOMFIELD, N.J. (AP) — Hackers temporarily redirected people looking for hundreds of local school webpages across the U.S. to a video in support of the Islamic State group.

The FBI is trying to determine who was behind the hack, which hijacked school websites in Tucson, Arizona; Newtown, Connecticut; Gloucester County, Virginia; and Bloomfield, New Jersey.

The Bloomfield school district said their website displayed the IS video for about two hours Monday before it was taken down.

Advertisement

SchoolDesk, the Atlanta-based company that maintains the site, said in a statement that technicians discovered a small file was injected into the root of one of its websites. That redirected approximately 800 school and district webpages to a YouTube video containing an audible Arabic message, unknown writing and a picture of Saddam Hussein.

Get Talking Points in your inbox:
An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

‘‘It looked like it was some sort of ISIS recruitment or support video,’’ SchoolDesk founder Rob Freierson told NJ.com.

SchoolDesk’s statement said the hack also affected other organizations, including private and government websites. The company has added more protections and is requiring users of its websites to reset their passwords.

The Bloomfield district said no confidential student or teacher information was compromised.

SchoolDesk said it was working with various investigative agencies to track the source of the hack.