North Yorkshire School Website Hacked

6 January 2015, 12:41 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

The website of a primary school in North Yorkshire has been taken down for 'maintenance' after it appeared to have been hacked by an Islamic group.

Overnight, Sowerby Community Primary School's website showed a picture of the US and Israeli flags side by side with a red cross through them both.

The website of the school in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, was hacked by a group calling themselves X-saad.

It includes a message which reads: "We defend our religion, we do not forget we are without limits we do not believe in laws !!

"Not a terrorist religion but Islam is the religion of co-existence and mercy and love the terrorists are Israel and America."

The text is followed by some Arabic writing.

Charles Allen, school community governor, tweeted a reassurance to parents.

He said:
"The school is aware the website has been hacked and will get the message taken down as soon as possible.

The school has been in dialogue with North Yorkshire Police. There is no need for anyone to contact the police any further.

The school and police believe it is perfectly safe to send your child or children to school tomorrow."

Inspector Chris Galley, of North Yorkshire Police, told Capital:
"We believe that the Sowerby Primary School website had unauthorised content posted by a virus which seeks out servers with weak security software.

Other organisations and businesses both locally, nationally and internationally have had their websites compromised in a similar manner in recent months and there is no suggestion that Sowerby Primary School was deliberately targeted in any way.

The school have now removed their website and enquiries to establish the origin of the content are ongoing.

It is important that all organisations with a public facing website ensure that they have sound security software in place to reduce the risk of similar incidents occurring."

Sowerby Primary School sent out a message reassuring parents last night that this was not a specifically targeted threat and that there was no risk to children attending school.

Both governors and police officers attended the school this morning as a reassurance to families.

Pete Dwyer, North Yorkshire's Corporate Director of the Children and Young People's Service said:
"We have been working closely with the police on this matter. Our schools place great importance on website security but we understand that despite all best efforts public and corporate websites can be compromised in this way from time to time.

We are reassured by the police in this case that this was a random breach and that children are not at any risk."