French homeschooling system hit by hackers from Russia, China – investigators

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Hackers operating from Russia and China targeted France’s homeschooling platform which crashed at the start of a nationwide lockdown last week, investigators said on Monday.

The cyber attacks on the “Ma classe a la maison” (My class at home) programme originated in Russia and China but it was unclear whether the perpetrators were themselves Russian and Chinese, the sources added.

The platform, which was used by more than a million pupils and teachers to continue classes after schools were shut to halt the spread of Covid-19, repeatedly crashed on 6 April.

France’s distance learning centre CNED, which runs the service, complained of “deliberate malevolent acts” taking place over several days.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer drew widespread ridicule for suggesting that foreign hackers caused the disruptions, with many parents instead blaming a lack of preparation by the government.

But investigators confirmed that hackers had targeted the system.

President Emmanuel Macron shut the country’s schools for three weeks to help tame a third wave of Covid-19 infections, after hospitals warned they were being swamped with critical cases.

After one week of homeschooling, schools were closed for two weeks’ holidays.

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