An apparent cyber attack on a school website was an unfortunate coincidence according to its deputy head.
Confused parents logging on to the Heanor Gate Science College website last Tuesday found the main page had been hacked by what appeared to be an Islamic Turkish protest group.
They saw a message on a black background damning the French satirical publication Charlie Hedbo, which was the focus of firebomb attacks when it printed cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed in 2010.
But Deputy head Mark Blatchley says their website was one of hundreds hosted by the web provider Redstation to have been hacked.
He said: “We are absolutely sure that this was not the work of a Heanor Gate Science College student - it was not about us!
“We were just the unfortunate recipient of a hack against our service providers.”
Mr Blatchley said that parents alerted the school to the hack on Tuesday morning.
At first there was confusion as to why the school’s seemingly inoffensive website - used to inform parents of snow days, exam dates and school events - seemed to have been chosen to hit back at the controversial French title.
“It was really surreal ,” he said. “Here we are in Heanor , caught in this strange experience where a group of hackers appeared to be making a political statement about a satirical paper.
“The parents were great,” he said. “They called in to say - ‘look in case you don’t know there’s some offensive stuff about Charlie Hedbo on your website.”
Mr Blatchley said the school stores back up copiesof all the information on the website and assures parents that no personal data has been lost or stolen.
A temporary site is currently up and running, while the school works on a redesign.
“It actually came along at an appropriate time,” the deputy head added. “We were planning to completely overhaul the website from the ground up anyway, now we’ll have to!”
Redstation has declined to comment on the cyber attack.