It started with threatening text messages to parents on a Monday evening.
"I'm going to kill some kids," many of the texts said.
And no one knew where they were coming from. Except, they came from multiple numbers.
"The message content varied to some degree but in general, there were acts of violence that were threatened at multiple Johnston School locations," said Dennis McDaniel with the Johnston, Iowa Police Department.
Johnston is a suburb of Des Moines, and the parents targeted had kids attending Johnston Community Schools.
The district decided to cancel school the following day: "Around 8 p.m. on the evening of October 2, individual students and parents within our school district received anonymous messages, threatening the safety and security of our students. In an effort of caution, we will be canceling school for all students and district staff on Tuesday, October 3."
Iowa schools hit by hackers
By October 4, police confirmed that a hack of district held information may have been what started the chain of events.
"This investigation is now being treated as a cyber-crime and involves hackers preying upon our worst fears in a day and age where school violence has become all too real,” the police statement said.
The Dark Overlord hacking group—or someone claiming to be them on a recently opened Twitter account—took credit for the attack:
Sixteen Twitter accounts liked that post.
The hackers then took another step. They posted a student directory with personally identifying information on the kids in the district.
As you can imagine, some responded to the hackers, with disgust:
Does cybersecurity matter? It certainly matters for network and data security. But we knew that already.
This case, of the Iowa school district that was hacked, is an example of how cybersecurity is linked to physical and personal safety.
And a "sense" of security, as well.