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3rd Grader Accused of Hacking Schools' Computer System

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the give-that-kid-a-gold-star dept.

Education 344

Gud writes "According to The Washington Post a 9-year-old was able to hack into his county's school computer network and change such things as passwords, course work, and enrollment info. From the article: 'Police say a 9-year-old McLean boy hacked into the Blackboard Learning System used by the county school system to change teachers' and staff members' passwords, change or delete course content, and change course enrollment. One of the victims was Fairfax Superintendent Jack D. Dale, according to an affidavit filed by a Fairfax detective in Fairfax Circuit Court this week. But police and school officials decided no harm, no foul. The boy did not intend to do any serious damage, and didn't, so the police withdrew and are allowing the school district to handle the half-grown hacker.'"

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344 comments

More likely, (5, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 4 years ago | (#31875076)

Some dumb teacher probably just left their admin password laying around on a post-it note, or hell even left some admin interface open unattended, and doesn't want to admit it. Therefor, "hacking"!

Re:More likely, (5, Informative)

Rary (566291) | about 4 years ago | (#31875106)

Some dumb teacher probably just left their admin password laying around on a post-it note, or hell even left some admin interface open unattended, and doesn't want to admit it. Therefor, "hacking"!

Actually, although TFA doesn't provide any details about how the "hack" occurred, they do differentiate between this and a similar case where someone merely obtained someone else's password. The implication of the article is that there was actual technical skill of some kind involved.

Re:More likely, (2, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | about 4 years ago | (#31875194)

Probably not much skill required. Anecdotal I'm sure, but I've read online of other "hacking" done to Blackboard's software.

This kind of leads me to believe they just have really shitty security. Reminds me of the screen lock software they installed on the old Mac's we had when I was in middle school.

Move the mouse and it appears to ask you for a password, but click in the very far lower left corner and it let you in...

Any security device designed with an intentional circumvention probably has a security hole also.

Re:More likely, (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | about 4 years ago | (#31875298)

by skill do you mean running a script that was copied from the internet.

Re:More likely, (3, Insightful)

G00F (241765) | about 4 years ago | (#31875512)

for a 9 year old, that would be skill.

Re:More likely, (2, Insightful)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about 4 years ago | (#31875572)

Agreed, noone starts programming w/o ever seeing someone elses code. Most of my code now is from scratch (or from my own previous code), but at one time I looked at a lot of examples from books/internet to see how things were done.

Re:More likely, (3, Funny)

shogun (657) | about 4 years ago | (#31875850)

Agreed, noone starts programming w/o ever seeing someone elses code.

I suspect Ada Lovelace may disagree with you on that one.

Re:More likely, (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 4 years ago | (#31875640)

    We all have to start somewhere. First it's discovering that it can be done. Then it's migrating to script kiddie level. Before you know it, he'll be writing the next killer app. I'm glad that the police were invited to step away so the school could just warn him where the fine line is between knowledge and abuse.

Re:More likely, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875776)

Not neccesarily. My 6 year old can effetivly use google, understands the concept of passwords, and can access the school websites. Not a huge leap from there to put those 3 things together.

Re:More likely, (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 years ago | (#31875786)

For a 9 year old these days reading the password off a post-t would be a skill.

Bump him up a grade, say I. And offer him a job.

Re:More likely, (5, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | about 4 years ago | (#31875596)

Yeah, preteens ain't got any skillz unless they've coded their own sploit. I bet this kid doesn't even know how to write kernel patches. What a retard.

FTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875510)

"The manager found that most of those targeted worked at Spring Hill Elementary or Churchill Road Elementary schools and that a student's account at Spring Hill had been enabled with administrator privileges"

It would seem that an admin turned a student's account into an admin account. Since only one account is mentioned I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the accidentally elevated account belonged to the 9 year old. This is just a case of ineptitude by some admin and not hacking or cracking in any way.

Re:More likely, (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875718)

It doesn't appear as though it was a hack after all - merely a student with a privileged user's password:
http://blog.blackboard.com/blackboard/2010/04/reported-hack-not-the-case-clarification.html

The Washington Post has issued a correction/clarification:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/15/AR2010041505517.html

Re:More likely, (2, Funny)

poena.dare (306891) | about 4 years ago | (#31875936)

It's Blackboard Learning System (BLS) - many schools use it. Chances are he did it through URL manipulation. I tried to get my son the hack it but he refused. He said, "I don wanna know about web sites and stuff and then end up haffin to fix Mom's computer like you, Pop." Broke my heart. :(

Re:More likely, (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875132)

FTFA:

In January, students at Churchill High School in Montgomery County broke into their system to change grades, but that involved stolen passwords, not hacking, and did not involve Blackboard, Montgomery police said.

Re:More likely, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875156)

"no but I know where they write down the password"

Re:More likely, (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 4 years ago | (#31875184)

Even more likely: Had security been adequate to keep out a determined nine-year-old, it also would have completely stymied the teachers and administrators.

Even more likely than that: Some teacher who "knew a lot about computers" set up the system in his/her spare time.

Re:More likely, (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 4 years ago | (#31875438)

Well, now they can hire the 9 year old to be their systems admin. He obviously knows more about security than they do.

Re:More likely, (5, Insightful)

nametaken (610866) | about 4 years ago | (#31875554)

Let's not make excuses for the fact that Blackboard SUCKS in every conceivable way, as it has since schools first started using it.

If there's any problem at all with some staff member's abilities, it manifest itself in the decision to license that pile of trash in the first place.

Re:More likely, (3, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 4 years ago | (#31875642)

Having been a teacher at the local community college, and having used that egregious POS, I have to agree completely. I'd think rather be homeless (or be sentenced for life to use Access) than have to deal with Blackboard again.

Re:More likely, (0, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 4 years ago | (#31875944)

Face it - most schools are set up to be tedious punishment for kids. I mean, kids need to be punished for being kids.

From time to time, I read of some super exceptional kid who finished high school years ahead of his age group, and is finishing his first degree when his former classmates are getting their diploma. But, for the most part, the schools just want your warm body locked in a classroom for 180 days a year, to keep that revenue coming in.

Given that school is intended to be punishment, is it any wonder that "popular" computer programs are stupid, asinine, difficult, boring, ugly, and all the rest? If people ENJOYED using a program, it would never get approved in any school district!

Re:More likely, (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 4 years ago | (#31875772)

Even more likely than that: Some teacher who "knew a lot about computers" set up the system in his/her spare time.

That seems far-fetched. There are FOSS tools like Moodle -- Blackboard, by contrast, is going to cost you. As their website doesn't specify a price, you can expect the price to be tailored to your individual institution, or in other words, likely several hundred dollars at least, probably in the thousands.

That's a guess, but it seems doubtful, or at least stupid, to allow "some teacher who knew a lot about computers" to have that much purchasing power.

Re:More likely, (1)

Tolkien (664315) | about 4 years ago | (#31875848)

The trick see, is to use child-safe pill-bottle caps on everything, including computer security-measures. Think of the children, people!

Re:More likely, (1)

Kozz (7764) | about 4 years ago | (#31875982)

Even more likely: Had security been adequate to keep out a determined nine-year-old, it also would have completely stymied the teachers and administrators.

I would guess that stupid security is sufficient. I know of an instance back in 1990 (*cough* ahem, excuse me) where students had access to computers in a library. Those computers also had enrollment/administration software installed on them. The username guessed was "teacher", and the password guessed was "westhigh" (for [cityname] West High School). It seems the student only guessed perhaps a half dozen times before access was granted.

Re:More likely, (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 4 years ago | (#31875466)

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County public school system had a security system of some sort for years where the password for all the teachers was "teach". This was a pretty well-known "secret" among the student body. It might have mattered if you couldn't have snuck around half the lame restrictions anyway with some selective right-clicking on folders in the 'Save' and 'Open' dialog boxes of IE or Notepad.

Re:More likely, (1)

spazdor (902907) | about 4 years ago | (#31875666)

Hah. I remember those lame-ass win95/98 "kiosk" mods. I think my school used one called FoolProof.
No actual program execution control or permissions policies, they just disabled some UI elements (like the Incredible Vanishing Start Menu) and hoped that no teenager had ever used a CLI before.

Re:More likely, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875672)

Rumor has it the password was PENCIL.

Re:More likely, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875858)

Would you like to play a game?

Re:More likely, (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875842)

This happened to my younger brother when he was in junior high (10 years ago).

He had a relatively good understanding of computers at the time, and decided to go to 'right-click, explore' on the start button and found out a number of network mapped drives.

He clicked on a few, and a password box poped up. He typed in "admin" and "admin" for both user and password. He looked around and found some interesting documents pertaining to school administrative officials. Before he was able to read them, the teacher came by and caught him.

They sent him to the principal's office and called my Mom. They said they were going to charge him with "hacking" and theft, unauthorized access, criminal mischief, etc.

My mom freaked out and called me. I set up an appointment with the principal to see what he had actually done. They called in their network administrator and superintendent and all 5 of us had a meeting.

After they had told me exactly what he had done, I mentioned their security must have been lax enough that anyone could access it, even by mistake. We agreed he probably didn't know what he was looking for, if anything.

The network administrator, not content to be outshone after we had all agreed to dismiss it and give my brother a suspension, decided he wanted to prove to me it was secure.

He showed me the firewall. So I showed them all how the network admin had the default user and password still set.

I wish I could say he got fired, but no. He still works there. They just required him to get more training. He's not so bad now.

Didn't see that one coming. (5, Interesting)

migla (1099771) | about 4 years ago | (#31875084)

Pleasantly surprised by the last part of the summary:

"But police and school officials decided no harm, no foul. The boy did not intend to do any serious damage, and didn't, so the police withdrew and are allowing the school district to handle the half-grown hacker."

Didn't see that one coming. I thought I was in for a story of stupid teachers overreacting and a poor kid dealt with harshly.

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875204)

that comes in the appeal.

jr

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (2, Insightful)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | about 4 years ago | (#31875284)

No kidding!

That brightened my day considerably. Though in a perfectly sane world, the police would never have become involved in the first place.

-FL

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (1)

kainewynd2 (821530) | about 4 years ago | (#31875430)

Though in a perfectly sane world, the police would never have become involved in the first place.

We takes what we can gets in this new world of uber-paranoia.

I know I'm happy with the result. In School Suspension not juvenile detention!

Holy piss... that made a rhyme. Huh...

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about 4 years ago | (#31875606)

I'm thinking that it is a product of a CYA sue-happy society. No one wants to take responsibility and have it be there problem when it goes wrong, and probably, school officials didn't have the technical expertise to even tell if harm was/wasn't done.

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (0, Flamebait)

quantumplacet (1195335) | about 4 years ago | (#31875886)

Though in a perfectly sane world, the police would never have become involved in the first place.

you have a strange definition of a perfect world. the security of a schools computer system was compromised from a remote location, and you'd prefer to keep the police out of it? somehow they were to psychically know that the perpetrator was a 9 year old with minimal malicious intent and thus shouldn't bother to investigate?

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (1)

U8MyData (1281010) | about 4 years ago | (#31875428)

Yeah, that was refreshing wasn't it? I thought for sure there was going to be a "chicken little" story how a kid hacked the schools system and is now a cyber "terrier" (I shan't type the real word). I also love how news stories leave out the important details like the system itself was vulnerable to compromise by a simple CTRL-C at the logon prompt that dropped the "hacker" off at the root console. Seriously, have you seen some of the crap that is out there?

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 4 years ago | (#31875978)

I also love how news stories leave out the important details like the system itself was vulnerable to compromise by a simple CTRL-C at the logon prompt that dropped the "hacker" off at the root console.

This case is different because it was a small kid, but in general I don't see much of a difference there.

If doing something malicious is easy to do, it doesn't make it any more malicious. Changing other people's passwords, course materials, and course enrollment certainly qualifies as malicious IMO.

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875462)

Yeah, instead, he will be expelled by the school district. How wonderful.

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (1)

zero_out (1705074) | about 4 years ago | (#31875532)

If I were the one in charge of making the decision about what to do with this child, I would let him go and be thankful to him. He exposed a serious problem, and did no harm. If a 9 year old can do it, then a 17 year old can, and would be much more likely to cause harm. It's better to discover this problem with no damage being done, and fix it, than not discover it until someone who really knows what they're doing hacks in and actually does something destructive.

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (1)

talz13 (884474) | about 4 years ago | (#31875586)

allowing the school district to handle the half-grown hacker.

Oh, they still have plenty of time to overreact on him, just that the police won't be involved.

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | about 4 years ago | (#31875774)

That's because the weight of ripping on a 9 year old is still greater than the default entitlement to fly off the handle over any negative event. If he was 18 he should be in jail, 16 suspended, 12 juvenile school.. 9 is still too young to be a dbag towards the kid.. pretty close though

Re:Didn't see that one coming. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 4 years ago | (#31875906)

Yup. Now if only we could have as much sanity when a 5-year-old brings a GI Joe soldier figurine with a miniature plastic gun.

Two words (2, Interesting)

Jawn98685 (687784) | about 4 years ago | (#31875090)

...come immediatley to mind as I RTFA, "Terry Childs". This kid, admittedly, commits a crime by breaking into the school's computer system. Childs, on the other hand, did arguably prevent harm by carrying out his duty to maintain the network's security, and he's the one in jail.
[shakes head]

Same for me!!!!!! Except..... (4, Interesting)

tacokill (531275) | about 4 years ago | (#31875240)

Same for me! Right up until I realized the kid was 9....

Come on, really? You're gonna make that comparison?

Re:Same for me!!!!!! Except..... (1)

Rhaban (987410) | about 4 years ago | (#31875580)

Come on, really? You're gonna make that comparison?

Comparison seems fair to me.

Terry Childs name is Childs, the kid is a child... the cases are very similar.

Re:Two words (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#31875272)

Childs, on the other hand, did arguably prevent harm by carrying out his duty to maintain the network's security, and he's the one in jail.

Childs had a responsibility to follow the instructions of his supervisors. It was not up to him to define the scope of his own employment. Just another narcissist network admin with a god complex.

Re:Two words (1)

Elshifto (804933) | about 4 years ago | (#31875354)

Childs was following his employers policies by not giving out confidential passwords to unauthorized people (which includes supervisors) and protecting the integrity of the network he was employed to protect.

Re:Two words (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 4 years ago | (#31875920)

Childs was following his employers policies by not giving out confidential passwords to unauthorized people (which includes supervisors)

Except that's cyclical, isn't it? Who authorizes the people and then tells the admin who made the list and who didn't? The supervisors, that's who.

Your boss is always in the loop, unless specifically directed otherwise by a more powerful boss.

you can't seriously be defending childs (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 4 years ago | (#31875350)

childs had a god complex: "i am the only one who has the right to administer this network"

he built the network for san francisco. san francisco had every right to do whatever it wanted to do with the network they hired him to build. if san francisco wanted to hand out passwords to the network to hackers, san francisco has that right, and childs has no right to any say on the matter

the man was not protecting the security of the network, the man believed he and he alone had a right to decide what to do with the network. the man has boundary issues: he felt attached to the network like it was his child. he probably invested a lot of time and energy into it, but so what? there's such a thing as taking pride in your work... then there is psychotically remaining attached to your work and assuming you and you alone can forever more decide how your work is used

he was reimbursed for his work. end of story. his actions are completely indefensible. the man needs psychological help, you have no valid basis to defend the wackjob. lock childs up, he only deserves punishment and psychological treatment

and furthermore WHERE THE HELL DO YOU GET OFF COMPARING TERRY CHILDS TO A NINE YEAR OLD

Re:you can't seriously be defending childs (1)

tsstahl (812393) | about 4 years ago | (#31875634)

his actions are completely indefensible.

Really?

Not a zeroeth law fan are you?

Childs is an ass. I think we can all pretty much agree on that. However, his initial actions that started the cascade of buffoonery were well within his job description/duty. If as a worker bee someone outside my management structure, yet still well placed, asks for the keys to the kingdom, I'm going to politely point that person toward my management structure to service the request. If it can be immediately shown to me that providing said keys in a timely fashion could prevent some sort of real harm, physical, or virtual, I'll make the call, otherwise, let my boss tell me.

Re:you can't seriously be defending childs (1)

spazdor (902907) | about 4 years ago | (#31875744)

there's such a thing as taking pride in your work... then there is psychotically remaining attached to your work and assuming you and you alone can forever more decide how your work is used

you should be arguing about copyrights before Congress.

Skip him ahead a grade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875118)

He deserves it for bringing to light a serious gaping flaw in their e-security without doing serious damage. If a 9 year old, ANY 9 year old can break into your system, there are some major flaws that could easily be exploited in some bad ways.

What's his Slashdot name? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875142)

Just curious.

Re:What's his Slashdot name? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875734)

Real hackers don't do slashdot. This place is lame.

In reality (4, Funny)

mbone (558574) | about 4 years ago | (#31875150)

...so the police withdrew and are allowing the school district to handle the half-grown hacker.

Of course, that's just what they are telling the press. In reality, of course, the boy is being put in charge of a supersecret underground Government cybersecurity lab on a deserted island even as we speak.

Re:In reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875396)

That opinfo is for official use only. Report to your COMINTOP for retraining on OPSEC procedures immediately. This will be discussed further.

Re:In reality (1)

Andorin (1624303) | about 4 years ago | (#31875650)

Absolutely. Now the government can actually respond to any claims that their security is so bad, even a nine-year-old could hack their systems.

Google (3, Interesting)

mightysw (1643761) | about 4 years ago | (#31875152)

The words, hack (crack) blackboard, and see how many cases come up. That thing is an abomination of teaching software that, unfortunately, is used across the country. Let the kid off. He did something that everybody else has already done.

I doubt the kid is the 2nd coming of Kevin Mitnick (3, Interesting)

axl917 (1542205) | about 4 years ago | (#31875170)

It is more plausible that the school's Blackboard was mis-managed/mis-configured to allow access to areas it was not supposed to.

Bad software (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 4 years ago | (#31875212)

I've used the system he hacked into, Blackboard. It seriously sucks, has security holes a blind lemur could exploit, and is so hard-to-use many of the teachers refused to use it (at a tech school!). If the school kept using it, they deserved someone hacking it.

Blackboard - the biggest educational POS EVER (4, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#31875230)

I could hack that POS in my sleep, and have multiple times. The University of Redlands has some of the most incompetent IT administrators EVER - hack blackboard, get access to student accounts, surf the web on their network with not a goddamned one of them being the wiser, under an account that I could use to frame that person.

Doesn't help their wireless AP broadcasts into my apartment at such a high power level that it blocks out most of the other wireless APs when it's engaged. 5 bars on my router two feet away? As soon as a game starts up in their sports complex, I lose my router and I get a big fat UoR signal. I hack it EVERY SINGLE TIME and they're still not smart enough after several warnings to ditch blackboard and ResNet and find something more reliable.

Re:Blackboard - the biggest educational POS EVER (5, Funny)

BitHive (578094) | about 4 years ago | (#31875306)

This sounds like BS to me. If Blackboard was so bad, they would fail in the free marketplace and be put out of business. Since the value judgments of the free market are beyond reproach, the fact that Blackboard still exists and in fact is very expensive, means it is highly valuable and therefore good.

I suspect you are just a communist detractor with elitist opinions.

Re:Blackboard - the biggest educational POS EVER (3, Funny)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#31875608)

It can sound like BS to you but a third grader just fucking owned the system. Even AOL wasn't THAT easy.

Re:Blackboard - the biggest educational POS EVER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875872)

It can sound like BS to you but a third grader just fucking owned the system. Even AOL wasn't THAT easy.

errr... "According to a search warrant, the computer savvy boy was able to get a hold of an administrator's password at Spring Hill Elementary to get into the Blackboard learning system"

It doesn't sound like it was an issue with Blackboard but lax security policy and [l]user error at the school

Re:Blackboard - the biggest educational POS EVER (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | about 4 years ago | (#31875700)

This sounds like BS to me. If Blackboard was so bad, they would fail in the free marketplace and be put out of business. Since the value judgments of the free market are beyond reproach, the fact that Blackboard still exists and in fact is very expensive, means it is highly valuable and therefore good.

HAHAHA.. I really hope you're joking.

The Free market doesn't work like that when you inject blackjack and hookers into the equation. Do you really think that the teachers or IT staff for that mater get to decide what crapware is forced on them?

I guess you've never worked in government... Honestly I'd like to know where you do work?

Re:Blackboard - the biggest educational POS EVER (1)

gcatullus (810326) | about 4 years ago | (#31875720)

What is scary is that some people will read your comment literally, and they actually believe that.

Re:Blackboard - the biggest educational POS EVER (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 4 years ago | (#31875840)

See, this is government work. The "free market" doesn't operate very effectively here.

(I've used it. Blackboard isn't total crap, but it is pretty bad.)

Re:Blackboard - the biggest educational POS EVER (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 4 years ago | (#31875910)

the fact that Blackboard still exists and in fact is very expensive, means it is highly valuable and therefore good.

Soooo... Which University do you make spending decisions at? Based on your comment I can narrow it down to a few hundred or so.

Kidding? (3, Funny)

grishnav (522003) | about 4 years ago | (#31875286)

I thought I was only kidding when I said the security on Blackboard was so bad a 9 year old could hack it.

Re:Kidding? (1)

matrim99 (123693) | about 4 years ago | (#31875942)

<quote>I thought I was only kidding when I said the security on Blackboard was so bad a 9 year old could hack it.</quote>

Yeah, they took your advice into consideration when they implemented a "Please enter your age" pre-login screen to block out those nefarious 9 year olds.
Looks like the wiley bastard must have lied about his age too.

</fiction>.

good enough or not? (1)

cryoman23 (1646557) | about 4 years ago | (#31875326)

if hes really that good then why did he get caught? o wait nvm because otherwise he wouldn't have been on /.

I would be embarrassed... (1)

sircastor (1051070) | about 4 years ago | (#31875374)

... If I were the school's network admin, or even the district tech person. Granted that this may be a matter of simply finding a password/watching a password. I remember when I was in 6th grade, we had a teacher who would hunt and peck his way through is password. It was easy enough to catch it.

SOoCs? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 years ago | (#31875422)

But police and school officials decided no harm, no foul.

Pity it doesn't apply in all cases. [telegraph.co.uk]

I guess embarrassing a school board over lax security is less serious than embarrassing the Pentagon over a complete absence of it.

Ahhh (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 4 years ago | (#31875520)

Reminds me of the time my HS computer teacher accused me of "hacking" into the network.

What did I do? Pretty much opened Internet Explorer.

Someone had set it's homepage to a local network drive instead of the usual homepage. I noticed this and opened up the folder to see what it was (it was a dev server for the school website or something). I was going to poke around but then it dawned on me that school website code was going to be horribly boring to read so I closed the window and forgot about it.

So then the teacher comes up to me and accuses me of guessing the computer name, poking around in its shares in Windows Explorer and somehow hacking past password protection. Keep in mind there was, in fact, no password protection (or my account was mistakenly given access).

I guess I need an ending to this story hmm. Later that year she left the school right before the end-of-school awards ceremony (she was the only teacher ever to not be present and not give any awards out while I attended. Every teacher AT LEAST gave certificates out for As and most also gave plaques out for special accomplishments). She had even promised T-shirts to anyone who could type over 50-wam in a contest thing she ran. I scored 53 and I'm still waiting for my T-shirt.

Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875568)

They should confiscate his accoustic coupler. Otherwise he will play war games all over again.

Blame Playschool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875570)

Maybe the "Hack Me Elmo, Junior Hacker Kit" wasn't such a good idea.

Awesome security! (1)

Balial (39889) | about 4 years ago | (#31875706)

Wow, if a nine-year-old can hack into your servers and start changing stuff, you really ned to wonder about your security setup.

Who is this guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875754)

is his name by any chance "Bobby Tables"?

But I thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31875766)

But I thought that the closed computing devices we have today, like the iPad and Windows devices, were going to discourage this sort of curiosity and tinkering.

Thanks for all the fuss about nothing, Cory Doctorow!

Channeling Groucho Marx... (1)

bynary (827120) | about 4 years ago | (#31875882)

A child of nine could hack this system. Send someone to fetch a child of nine.
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