Helen Keller’s birthplace deals with multiple cyberattacks


TUSCUMBIA, Ala. — The birthplace of Helen Keller has been hit with three cyberattacks this year.

Executive Director Sue Pilkilton said each time, the museum’s email contact list was taken.

The first attack happened back in March during the first stay at home order when museums were forced to close. Pikilton said she opened an email disguised as a donation. She said she grew suspicious when she noticed the sender was the Keller Home.

She said no financial information was taken and she was able to recover the lost information; she then changed the password to that associated account.

Pilkilton said despite the password change, a second cyberattack happened about three weeks after the first. Again, hackers had taken the museum’s email contact list that Pilkilton said took days to restore.

Pilkilton changed the password again and all seemed well until Saturday, December 5. Hackers once again took the museum’s email contacts, but still nothing financial.

Pilkilton said the hackers had been sending the contacts emails as if they were from Pilkilton under the email, “PetLovers.” The first attack she said the hackers asked for a favor, the second time asking for Amazon gift cards, and the most recent attack, she said the hackers asked for help for “my niece.”

Pilkilton said people from all over the country were sending messages and calling asking if everything was ok with the Keller Home. Pilkilton said she had no way of notifying anyone of the cyberattack because of the hackers taking the contact list.

Pilkilton responded to those who contacted her, telling them if the Keller Home needs assistance, she would call or text them directly. Pilkilton is asking that anyone who sees an email in their inbox from her not open it.

She said any official emails from the museum will be from HelenKellerBirthplace@comcast.net and they will be signed, Sue Pilkilton, Executive Director. She is waiting for more information from Comcast on how to move forward with the attacks.

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