Updated: Friday, 14 Sep 2012, 4:43 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 12 Sep 2012, 7:37 PM EDT
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (WISH/WANE) - State and federal authorities are investigating an Indianapolis-area school district website breach. Someone claiming to represent a group called "All Muslims of the World" hacked into the site and replaced the main page with Arabic writing.
The English text underneath the Arabic implied the hack was related to the same video that some claim are spurring the protests around US Embassies that resulted in the deaths of four Americans earlier in the week.
English text under the writing said:"This breakthrough in response to the film and graphics depicting the master of the world may Allah bless him and grant him peace."
Brownsburg Police Detective Sgt Jennifer Pyatt-Barrett said the hacker was located in Iraq. The suspect is known for promoting propaganda, but not for violence. She says Brownsburg Community School Corporation was not targeted, but it was software used that found a weak spot on their website.
Superintendent Jim Snapp says the breach on the website has been fixed, but it is unclear if the school district will change the software they use for the website. Snapp says they've contacted other school corporations that use the same software to inform them of the risk of being hacked.
Pyatt-Barrett says all students should return to school. She says Brownsburg was not targeted. Out of 7,700 students in the school corporation, 500 were absent on Thursday.
The school released a statement for Brownsburg Community School Corporation parents Friday afternoon:
Brownsburg Community School Corporation wants you to have the most recent and complete information available about the website hacking incident:
A swift and aggressive investigation involving BCSC personnel, BCSC police, Brownsburg police and FBI cyber-crimes agents began Wednesday evening, September 12, shortly after BCSC Police Chief Ginnie Wing reported a breach in the BCSC webpage.
The very first priority, based on the content of the webpage, was to determine if there was any threat to Brownsburg schools. Agents confirmed that there was no threat – direct or indirect – to our students or schools. Because of the scope and sensitivity of the ongoing investigation, there was little in the way of specific detail that could be shared publicly at that point.
Less than 24 hours after the incident, it was determined that a hacker in Iraq used a technique that enables someone to find sensitive data or evidence of vulnerabilities by querying a search engine like Google or Bing. The hacker modified the BCSC homepage to include Arabic text as well as English text indicating the attack was in response to the movies and images depicting the prophet, Muhammad.
Based on analysis of available intelligence, there is no known physical threat from the hacker; rather he took advantage of vulnerable software on the website to promote propaganda. The primary goal of which is to create turmoil and disrupt daily routine.
Intelligence also confirmed the phrase that some interpreted as a potential threat, "soon you will hear voices of our swords" is a commonly used phrase in Iraq which is used to invoke fear, but does not necessarily constitute a direct threat.
As a result of this incident:
• The breach in the software that manages the content of the BCSC webpage has been addressed and the webpage is secure and back online.
• Student or parent information was never compromised or accessible.
• Other districts that utilize the same software management were alerted to potential vulnerability.
• The investigation will continue and could potentially result in federal cyber-crime charges against the perpetrator.
• The collaboration of school, town and federal agencies provided rapid information, the details of which could not always be shared or shared as rapidly as some would have liked.
• Social media served as both a blessing and a curse in trying to provide accurate information.
• BCSC absences were approximately 2.5% higher than normal on Thursday.
• The patience and trust of our parents and staff significantly decreased the “turmoil and disruption of daily routine”.
• BCSC student safety was and always will be our first priority!
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