COBB COUNTY, GA. — A Cobb County police report shows the Cobb County School District withheld information about the hacking of an emergency alert system for weeks.
On Feb. 2, a Code Red lockdown was activated in all Cobb County schools. It turned out to be a false alarm and the district blamed it on a malfunction.
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Through an open records request, Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose learned the district filed a police report on Feb. 3. Paperwork labels the incident as a hacking/computer invasion.
The school district did not notify its employees or families what really took place until three weeks later.
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In a news release the district sent on Feb. 24, it told the public:
“Immediately following the false alarm, the District began an investigation to determine how it occurred. Fairly quickly, it appeared that the false alarm signal (1) was intentionally triggered rather than a malfunction, and (2) was uniquely limited to the AlertPoint system in CCSD. The District requested assistance from the Cobb County Police Department’s Technology Based Crimes Unit, which began investigating the false alarm signal as a possible cyber attack. Superintendent Ragsdale received permission to provide a limited update to the Cobb County Board of Education on February 11, 2021. Today, the District received approval from the Technology Based Crimes Unit to give a general update to the community. While we cannot currently provide further detail as the investigation continues into the “who” and “why” of the attack, we have been given permission to share the Technology Based Crimes Unit’s conclusion that the false alarm signal occurred through a targeted, external attack of CCSD’s AlertPoint system. We do not yet know the motives of those attacking the District’s AlertPoint system. However, it appears the crime was committed to disrupt education across the District, create district-wide chaos, and produce anxiety in the District’s students, parents, and staff. This was not a “prank,” nor will it be treated like one.”
Police continue to investigate.
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