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Waterbury middle school hacked, students exposed to inappropriate content

Wednesday morning postings of highly inappropriate content popped up in a sixth-grade virtual classroom at Wallace Middle school.

WATERBURY, Conn. — The Waterbury School District said students in multiple grades were home in the middle of virtual classes when a hacker took over posting what they will only call inappropriate content.

"It's upsetting, given the nature of the content we don't want any, any child, you know exposed to that type of content," said Waterbury Public Schools Director of Communications Sujata Wycoff. "It began with sixth graders and quickly spread to the seven and with grades."

The Waterbury school district will not go into detail in terms of what was posted but said the google meet accounts were hacked in the middle of class. Alarmed, the school's principal Vincent Balsamo shut down the accounts within minutes and alerted families and Waterbury police. 

Waterbury police confirmed they are investigating the incident. 

"I really can't stress how quickly the principal acted and notified our families right away. To me it was very alarming given this was the first breach of that kind we experienced," said Wycoff.

Wallace Middle school is on a hybrid schedule, which means those students taking in-person classes at the time were not affected. 

All of the school's passwords have been changed and classes via google meet are expected to resume Thursday. The school district adds counselors will be made available to students disturbed by what they saw. 

According to a report by the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, the number of cybersecurity incidents affecting K-12 schools in the U.S. rose by 18% in 2020. 

"Any time there is new technology that we are all embracing and settling into, they're comes new challenges and one of those is these kinds of cyber-attacks, I think, you know, we all continue to be very vigilant," said Wycoff.

The school district said this is the first-time hacking has occurred within the district and their I.T. Department is investigating

   

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