French homeschooling platform hit by hackers from Russia, China: investigators

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

The cyber attacks on the “Ma classe a la maison” (My class at home) programme originated in Russia and China. It is not precisely known whether the perpetrators were themselves Russian and Chinese.

The platform is used by more than a million pupils and their teachers for education. In France schools were shut for three weeks as the extraordinary step to restrict Covid-19 spread after hospitals warned they were being swamped with critical cases.

France’s distance learning centre National Centre for Distance Education (Centre national d’enseignement à distance), operating the service, complained of “deliberate malevolent acts” occurring over several days, as reports.

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 this opinion, saying that hackers had targeted the system.

In recent months distance learning and several French hospitals have had systems shut down by hackers.

According to the European police agency, cybercrime is tending to increase as health restrictions in many countries mean people have to live and work more online without adequate online protection.

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