Hackers from Russia and China targeted France’s homeschooling platform, say investigators

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

Hackers from Russia and China targeted France's homeschooling platform, say investigators
Photo: Guillaume Souvnant/AFP

The cyber attacks on the “Ma classe à 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 April 6th.

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 announced one week of home schooling followed by two weeks of rescheduled Easter holidays to help tame a third wave of Covid-19 infections, after hospitals warned they were being swamped with critical cases.

READ ALSO What parents in France need to know about school closures

Easter holidays for the whole country began on Monday, April 12th, a change in date for some regions and will run for two weeks. On April 26th primary school pupils will return to school, while pupils in secondary school and high school (collège and lycée) will have one more week of remote learning before returning to the classroom.

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France detains three boys suspected of anti-Semitic rape of girl: police

French authorities have detained three boys suspected of the rape motivated by anti-Semitism of a 12-year-old girl outside Paris, police and prosecutors said on Tuesday.

France detains three boys suspected of anti-Semitic rape of girl: police

The three boys, aged between 12 and 13, were arrested on Monday on suspicion of raping the girl in the northwestern Paris suburb of Courbevoie, said a police source, asking not to be named.

They are to appear before an investigating magistrate later on Tuesday with a view to being charged with aggravated rape motivated by the religious affiliation of the victim, prosecutors said.

According to the police source, the girl said that she was approached by three teenagers and dragged into a shed while she was in a park near her home with a friend.

The suspects beat her and “forced her to have anal and vaginal penetration, fellatio, while uttering death threats and anti-Semitic remarks,” the same source said.

Her friend managed to identify two of the attackers.

France has the largest Jewish population of any country outside Israel and the United States, as well as Europe’s largest Muslim community.

The country has been on high alert for anti-Semitic acts since Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel and the Israel’s campaign in Gaza in the months since.