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The Newtown Public Schools district website was one of roughly 800 school district websites affected by what appear to be hackers in the early morning hours of Monday, November 6.
Interim Superintendent of Schools Lorrie Rodrigue said all of the Newtown public school websites have been taken down until she is “completely assured” by the authorities and the district’s Technology Department that the situation is handled.
“We didn’t see this as a threat. There were multiple districts hacked,” she added.
Dr Rodrigue said the district’s websites are hosted by School Desk, based out of Atlanta, Ga., and School Desk websites were affected by the hack.
School District Director of Security Mark Pompano is acting as a liaison with local authorities and the FBI to investigate the situation.
In the early morning hours on Monday, Dr Rodrigue said she started to hear from district staff and parents that the school websites appeared to have propaganda.
Dr Rodrigue sent an update to staff and parents Monday saying, “I wanted you to have the latest information regarding the ‘hacking’ of our Newtown website. We now know that over 800 sites were hacked across the United States. Our host server, School Desk, is located in Georgia. Currently, FBI is investigating this and are working with local authorities as well.
“While we are confident that all staff and students are safe, we have increased police presence at all schools in the district. I have directed our Technology Department to keep our site down until further notice until we can be assured that security measures are in place.”
Dr Rodrigue said the increased police presence is an ““added level of comfort for everyone, but we feel 100 percent confident that all Newtown students and staff are safe.”
She also added that the district does not have further information about the incident. Dr Rodrigue said the district knows the sites were hacked, and propaganda-like visuals were posted.
“Anything beyond that we don’t have any more information [on],” said Dr Rodrigue, who noted she will share more information with parents when it is known.