Worst cyberattack in Greece disrupts high school exams, causes political spat

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. centralized / ˈsɛn trəˌlaɪzd / (adj.) – under the control of one authority

    A centralized organization controls foreign donations to the victims of the storm.

  2. inconclusive / ˌɪn kənˈklu sɪv / (adj.) – without final and definite result or outcome

    The result of the competition was inconclusive, so there will be another round next week.

  3. adequate / ˈæd ɪ kwɪt / (adj.) – good enough for a certain need or requirement

    Some people are not receiving adequate medical attention.

  4. chair / tʃɛər / (v.) – to be in charge of a meeting, committee, or event

    He chaired the budget meeting for next year.

  5. intensity / ɪnˈtɛn sɪ ti / (n.) – the degree or quality of having extreme strength, force, concentration, etc.

    The team played with such intensity and won the finals.


Read the text below.

Greece’s Education Ministry says it has been targeted in a cyberattack described as the most extensive in the country’s history, aimed at disabling a centralized high school examination platform.

It said the distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks aimed at overwhelming the platform occurred for a second consecutive day. The attack involved computers from 114 countries, causing outages and delays in high school exams but failing to incapacitate the system, the ministry said.

The cyberattacks prompted a judicial investigation ordered by a Supreme Court prosecutor, to be assisted by the police’s cybercrime division.

“It is the most significant attack ever carried out against a Greek public or government organization,” the Education Ministry said, describing the incidents on May 29 and 30 as “large-scale and of sustained duration.”

End-of-year high school exams in Greece are administered using an online platform known as the Subject Bank, designed to set a uniform standard nationwide.

The outages left students waiting in classrooms for hours for the exams to start and touched off a political spat, following an inconclusive general election earlier in May. A caretaker government has been appointed ahead of a new election on June 25, with the conservative New Democracy party, which headed the previous government, favorite to win re-election.

“All we’ve got so far is an arrogant abdication of responsibility of the New Democracy government, which for four years failed to take adequate digital protection measures to shield the Subject Bank platform and ensure that school examinations run smoothly,” said Popi Tsapanidou, a spokeswoman for the main opposition party, left-wing Syriza.

Caretaker Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas chaired a meeting on the attacks, which a statement from his office said “were of great intensity and indicate a strong motive and know-how.” But the statement made no reference to who might be responsible for the disruption.

It said the attacks had been “efficiently repelled” and Greek authorities would, if necessary, “mobilize whatever is needed to address cyberattacks in the immediate future.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • According to Greece’s Education Ministry, the cyberattack it experienced was aimed at disabling a centralized high school examination platform. Why do you think the cyberattacker wanted to disable the examination platform? Discuss.
  • How do you think the attack affected public trust and confidence in the government? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • If you were to decide, what kind of punishment should be given to cyberattackers in general? Discuss.
  • Do you think your country is prepared to combat massive cyberattacks like this? Why or why not? Discuss.