SCPS Hacked! What You Need To Know


Gwyneth Katker

Over Thanksgiving break many students across the county received spam emails, the board did what they could to limit the amount of students to open the emails.

Christina Davenport, Reporter

With the year 2020 exclusively dedicated to dealing with COVID-19 breakouts, many students would agree that Thanksgiving Break was a vacation well deserved. Majority of students left to visit families over the break, hoping to leave the stress of school behind. However, during the break, a sudden occurrence put that thought aside. The Seminole County School Board reached out to inform parents and students of the random influx of unknown spam emails. 

The situation began when students from Crooms Academy and Hagerty High School in Seminole County received spam mail that contained gruesome videos involving the ISIS executions at 2:00 am on Nov. 28th, 2020. The following day, spam emails were sent to every SCPS student at around 5:00 pm. These emails portrayed additional disturbing content in a series of images and videos as well as responses from a few students themselves. 

The School Board sent a message to high school parents and students over the weekend, explaining they are aware of the situation. They advised students to delete these emails immediately as they may have malware. 

The Seminole County School District (SCPS) stated, “The emails are coming from both Gmail and proton-mail email accounts. Our information services department and local law enforcement have been alerted and are working diligently to remedy the situation. In the meantime, please let your students know if they’ve received any of these emails to delete them immediately.”

SCPS emailed all students in an effort to give updates on what students can do in the meantime while the emails were still being sent out.

“As of today, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, we have deployed several measures ranging from restrictions on external email messages being sent to student accounts to the removal of the original email messages specific to this event. In addition to these actions, SCPS has engaged both law enforcement and Microsoft to assist with the ongoing investigation. While this incident may take the next day or two to fix, please be assured that SCPS is continuing to work on this issue and will do so until it has been fully resolved” stated SCPS.

The messages sent out to everyone addressing the spam content explains that people should not respond and delete the emails received until further addressed. Moreover, SCPS suggests that they do not open any attachments, links, or forward any part of the email. 

“I did click open at first to see the spam messages because I didn’t know what they were. The messages I saw were pretty messed up, but it continues to become more inappropriate…I’ll assume that they’re doing their best for the County as a whole. It’s better to take precautions to make sure all students are safe especially since the creator behind the spam chain is completely known,” said Seminole High School senior Sebastian Castillo.

As of Dec. 1st, 2020, the spam content being produced in the emails of students has been halted. No further update was given as to how these emails originated, but it is guaranteed that future notice will be given in case another incident were to occur. SCPS will take care of the situation safely and securely. In the meantime, similar spam content should be deleted at first sight.