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Alaskan Middle Schoolers Phish Their Teachers

timothy posted about a year ago | from the deadliest-catch dept.

Education 215

lukej writes "In Ketchikan, Alaska a small group of unidentified students gained access to school owned computers by using phishing techniques on their teachers. The then used the elevated access to remotely control their peers computers. Fortunately the school administrators seem to have a taken a realistic and pragmatic viewpoint of the situation, although no official punishment has yet been determined. '"Kids are being kids," (Principal) Robinson said, adding that he was surprised something like this had not already occurred. "They're going to try to do what they try to do. This time we found out about it."'" And no one got arrested.

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Good thing... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43609951)

There's hope for us yet!

Re:Good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610067)

Only in far away lands not connected directly to the motherland...

Re:Good thing... (-1, Redundant)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year ago | (#43610413)

I guess government sponsored and press-fueled hysteria hasn't reached this part of the world yet. If this had happened in the lower 48 they'd be discussing potential links to terrorist groups on Fox News.

Re:Good thing... (3, Funny)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#43610315)

I remember doing this back in 1993. While I didn't use email phishing I chummed up to the network admin and came up for excuses for him to enter his password as I watched him type it in. Created my own administrator account to give myself access to all programs that were restricted to students. Mostly so I'd have free access to the few games they had on the network :) They never knew.

I still remember the password too: "ersm" - ever so secure.

Re:Good thing... (2)

NixieBunny (859050) | about a year ago | (#43610557)

I was on good terms with my high school's computer person back in the seventies, when the entire school district shared a timesharing computer. He told me the password to the teachers' account (yes, just one) for our school. It was "SECRET".

Re:Good thing... (5, Funny)

Dins (2538550) | about a year ago | (#43610797)

One time I was sent to the Principal's office and while waiting outside, his secretary left the room. I pull out one of her drawers and sure enough the password to the school's grading computer "PENCIL" was right there. I used it to change some of my grades...

;)

Re:Good thing... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610993)

You must have gotten a computer. I got a car.

Re:Good thing... (2)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#43611295)

I thought of doing that but then I thought that was a sure fire way of getting caught - no one would believe I got good grades.

Re:Good thing... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43610935)

*shrug* back then it would've taken 10 years to crack that anyways.

Re:Good thing... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43611047)

HEY!!! Why did YOUR school have computers in the seventies, and all MY school had was electric typewriters?

I am curious though - where did you go to school? My school system was considered pretty wealthy, but we had zero computer access. I mean, zero. The most computer-like device on school grounds were Texas Instruments scientific calculators!

Re:Good thing... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#43611157)

I remember doing this back in 1993. While I didn't use email phishing I chummed up to the network admin and came up for excuses for him to enter his password as I watched him type it in. Created my own administrator account to give myself access to all programs that were restricted to students. Mostly so I'd have free access to the few games they had on the network :) They never knew.

I still remember the password too: "ersm" - ever so secure.

Ah, good times. Back in my day we did it by bootdisking one machine, swiping the password file and then running l0pthcrack against it; and lo and behold the local admin password on every machine was the same, and it matched the domain admin password too. We used it for everything from installing games to snooping on other user's work files. The password was only 6 chars, easy work for even a slow computer from 15 years ago. Its funny how those memories stand out, eh?

AT LEAST THEY ARE NOT GETTING DRUNK !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43609963)

Yet !!

Teacher should of been ready (0, Flamebait)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43609965)

The teachers should of been able to figure out this Phish. Any time a student can up a teacher it means the teachers need training, this is a great example of how teachers are starting to leg behind there students.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43610033)

Sure, and the teachers should be able to fix the heater when it breaks.

While I support teaching anyone with access to computers the ins and outs of same, expecting your eighth grade teacher to be part security consultant is a bit of stretch.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610139)

Exactly, there is a reason why they are a teacher and not a programmer

Re: Teacher should of been ready (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610169)

Yep, because they are not idiots. Only suckers are code monkeys these days.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43610193)

But they should have better computer skills then the students they teach. The point of a teacher is to teach and when the students can out pace them in an area it means they can't.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (5, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year ago | (#43610303)

So, Maths teachers should also be tops in history, english, PE, biology, IT... etc, etc ?

Re:Teacher should of been ready (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#43610545)

Well, a Math teacher should be proficient enough to know History, Biology etc. Same with English teacher knowing basic math skills. The problem is, too many teachers only know their one subject, and cannot function outside of that one area. These teachers suck.

As a computer professional in a school district, I am expected to know a little about most things, but we have no expectation of teachers. A grade school teacher teaching 3rd grade, only needs to know how to teach 3rd grade material, they don't even have an expectation of anything else. Meaning they don't have to know any math beyond 3rd grade. And trust me, many of them don't. However, JR and SR high school teachers are more specialized. High School English teacher may not be functionally proficient in Math, but imagine the uproar if a Math teacher was not functionally proficient in English.

Do you see the problem now?

Re:Teacher should of been ready (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43610721)

Yes, you're completely clueless.

The reason why few teachers can handle more than one subject is primarily an issue of training. If you don't train the teachers to teach multiple subjects, and permit them time to learn the ins and outs of teaching it, then you're not going to get many teachers that go to the trouble.

When all is said and done, if you want higher standards, then you're going to have to pay better, do a better job of managing the schools and generally stop treating teachers like crap. There's a reason why the average career as a teacher in the US is only 5 years. By the time they've gotten the hang of it, they're being pushed out the door.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43611019)

If you teach a math teacher history, which that teacher doesn't care for you're setting them up to fail and in turn the school is brought down with them.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#43611221)

If you teach a math teacher history, which that teacher doesn't care for you're setting them up to fail and in turn the school is brought down with them.

If the teacher cares about "math" and not about, oh, *teaching*, then they have already failed. Get rid of them.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (5, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43610995)

Nope...

You mean... they remember some of there schooling from back in the day and impart it on their students in non-subject matter as part of typical human conversation?

Man... why do people find the education system so difficult to understand, you're responsible for the kids these institutions are turning out today through your ignorance and unreasonable expectations.

My best teachers specialized in one subject and... ready for this... WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT IT , that's the way to go, not cross-training.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611151)

This is crap. I never expected my high school English teacher to know calculus, geo-trig, geometry etc, I could easily out pace them in that regard and I could outpace all my Math teachers in computers (of course in my day this meant Apple II's & 8088's and it was my one of my math teachers who introduced a few of us 'geeks' to these wonderful devices)...

Here's a thought experiment for you, think of teachers as people too, maybe with their own kids...now think about the teachers wanting the best education for their kids...do you REALLY think that an English teacher with a kid wouldn't want to know as much as possible to help their kid with their homework just like other parents...so, if you expect teachers to have all these 'mad skillz' in every subject, what you are really saying is that you expect parents to have them too...in which case what do we need teachers & schools for? Parents can all just teach their children..

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43610601)

Yes, If your a grade school teacher, teaching a class of students and they can top you in ANY SUBJECT then you need to bulk up.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

somarilnos (2532726) | about a year ago | (#43610937)

*if you're

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610399)

Good teachers can still learn some things from students though. If the students weren't much trouble otherwise, the most I'd do for "punishment" is make them write a full report on the vulnerabilities and all the things that can be done to improve security. Most kids don't like writing essays, but they already did half the work themselves and it's a subject they're knowlegable about, so it's not the worst thing.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (3, Insightful)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#43610417)

But they should have better computer skills then the students they teach. The point of a teacher is to teach and when the students can out pace them in an area it means they can't.

If you remember what it was to be a child at all you'll remember that children have *lots* of time to get good at this sort of thing. A child who's into computers can spend much more time learning the ins and outs than a teacher who has a job and home life, etc. You can't expect a teacher to always know more than *every* child they teach.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (-1, Troll)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43610647)

Teachers work less then students, a Teacher doesn't learn they just spew information out. A student needs to take the information in, understand it and develop an understanding. A teacher should of already done all of this and hence they are either learning new information which should be simpler or they're better defining existing information. Trust me I have no soft heart for teachers, they work 8 - 4 at most, they only teach information they already understand and they get to choose how much work they do and yes they complain about it. So hence when a teacher knows less then a student I really really just don't care, they should get out there and learn. The first time it happens it's an opportunity, the second it's inexcusable.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43610759)

I'm sorry, but that's utter bullshit.

Seriously, I'm a teacher and even though I already know the content, it doesn't let me off the hook for figuring out how to convey that content to a new group of students. For every 5 minutes of homework I assign to the students, that's easily an hour of my time that I have to spend designing the assignment and assessing the results. And that's just if I'm doing a check off that they did it. If I have to actually check the quality in any meaningful way it can take a lot more time than that.

As for knowing less than the student, perhaps if the tax payers would shoulder some of the expense of training and certification that would be more reasonable. As it is, teachers work long hours and have to keep up with their certifications on their own. Expecting them to have time to also keep on top of the subject in areas where students might have interested, is rather unreasonable.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (-1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43611085)

Well you might be the exception to the rule then, my teachers were dumb as dog shit. I would of fired each one of them. Homework for us was do these question #'s from the book, as for marking, we'll take it up in class the next day. The tests were the same year to year as they never updated them and most of them used notes take from binders which were the same year to year. So well I certainly don't mean to single the good teachers in the crowd out I have personally have yet to meet any.

As for keeping on top of information I certainly can expect that, as an Embedded Engineer I can't let one day go by with out stepping my skills and knowledge up, it's what I don't know today that will kill my market chance tomorrow. If I have to work 12+ hours a day when I factor in office time and certifications then I can 100% expect teachers to put the same effort in.

I'm not joking when I say that my grade school teachers maybe put in a 8 - 3:30 day, class started at 9 so most of them put in a 8:45 ; 3:15 day including a hour lunch and two 15 minute recess brakes so take another hour and 1/2 off. So at best my teachers put in a 6 and 1/2 hour day, 1/2 of what I currently work.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#43611067)

Ah, now I *know* you're talking out of your arse. Your impressions of what teachers do is like a child's understanding of the job.

Teachers are doing a performance all day long. Those performances need preparing, for each and every class. The resultant work of the class needs marking (times 30 pupils). These things don't just happen magically, it's a fairly work-intensive profession.

(Teachers also often seem to have a god-complex and a need to be appreciated by the whole world. I don't get appreciated by the world, I have to find my own satisfaction in my job. But that's another issue)

Re:Teacher should of been ready (2)

malignant_minded (884324) | about a year ago | (#43610525)

I can't agree with that. School is like jail in some ways, kids get bored and figure out how the "routines" work and take advantage of them when its fun or beneficial. In reality I'd wager a bunch of regulars here got started in their careers breaking stuff like this even if by accident. For that reason I think the initial reaction from administration is on par with what it should be. I think this is a great opportunity to demonstrate that tinkering/learning is great but should not be done to the detriment of others and continue on as normal.

Teachers are forced to use more modern tools like interactive whiteboards and computers and most have adapted well to the task but you can't expect them to be experts in everything. Most will simply learn the portions that are relevant to their normal tasks as they should.

I don't think anyone can be faulted for falling for a well executed phishing scam. If anything why are teachers responsible for updating their computers?

Re:Teacher should of been ready (-1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43610711)

I think I can expect a teacher to be an expert in everything. A teachers knowledge should evolve greater or on par with the students. If the school is coming off like a jail then there is an issue that needs to dealt with, a teacher should make the classroom fun and interesting, they should do this to engage the students, when they can't they aren't doing there jobs. A teacher who reads from a textbook and assigns assignments like a robot is no better then the textbook. When you think about it, a textbook doesn't evolve, it doesn't learn and it can spew information out, a textbook does the same job as a teacher. We pay about $100 for a textbook yet pay a teacher 90+k a year so why? If a teacher isn't evolving faster then the student then I have no reason to keep them, I can buy some hundred dollar textbooks and do the same job. So again I have no soft heart for a teacher, they need to learn and learn all the time.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610971)

Most teachers in the Alaska school districts don't make anywhere near 90k a year. We also don't buy new $100 books every year. My last math book in high school was printed 10 years prior. My history book? More than that.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

malignant_minded (884324) | about a year ago | (#43611133)

If a teacher isn't evolving faster then the student then I have no reason to keep them, I can buy some hundred dollar textbooks and do the same job. So again I have no soft heart for a teacher, they need to learn and learn all the time.

In the US and in the state I reside you are certified to teach for a range of grade levels. The higher up the grades you are certified in the more you are expected to be an expert in one discipline. So for grade schools you have a broad certification in Math, English, Social Science because you will teach all these disciplines to your group or students or maybe share with another teacher in the same grade if a more advanced Math class is needed or something. Once you get to the secondary schooling / high school, I believe you are certified for 8th grade as well, you teach Math or you teach English not both. You will have advanced classes in that discipline and normal classes. Where do advanced computer skills fit into that? Several students in high school may know C or Python so you expect that English teacher to know them as well?
If that is what you expect then they should be making more than 90K (which they only make after moving up through their steps or like 15 years down the road) when a masters degree is required which would often allow you a better paying job if you did not enter the teaching profession. My district tops out at 110K after longevity is factored in. Many in the IT field make 100K but no one seems to give a shit that they don't know every nuance about accounting that the accounting department knows.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

SunTzuWarmaster (930093) | about a year ago | (#43610773)

Regular here. Hacked my teacher's computer in high school. I will have a PhD in Computer Engineering next month.

Correlation is not causation, of course, but an interest in "computers" leading to "using computers" and "degree in computers" isn't much or a stretch.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (3, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#43610631)

Middle school in the US is where you start to see teachers specialize (In elementary school you tend to have a single teacher for the majority of the day and only switch for things like music/gym/etc)

Middle school was when I first took apart my parent's computer, ran up the phone bill connecting to BBSs (as a kid not realizing that same area code didn't mean local), and started learning the ropes about computers by struggling to get the sound working at the same time as other components. (config.sys autoexec.bat, etc)

To expect a teacher, who may have no real interest in computers, to keep pace with the insatiable curiosity of a student 'looking under the hood' is simply not reasonable.

Would you expect the English teacher to be able to outpace a student who picks up an interest in Geology?

When I was 12, I also got really into airplanes, and studied hard to get my pilot's license asap. Would you expect any non-pilot teachers to have more knowledge about FAA regulations than a budding hobbyist?

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

tolkienfan (892463) | about a year ago | (#43610741)

It's impossible for every teacher to always have better computer skills than their students..
None of my teachers ever came close.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610407)

If the teacher is teaching HVAC repair classes, then yes the teacher should be able to fix the heater. Otherwise, I'm not quite sure I see your point.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43610955)

Never stopped slashdotters from posting idiotic ideas before though. How about approaching it from the "need only access" approach, and auditing systems periodically for rogue access approach. Probably would cost less too, than training teachers in anti-phishing concepts who only want to teach social studies and math.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#43611313)

Sure, and the teachers should be able to fix the heater when it breaks.

While I support teaching anyone with access to computers the ins and outs of same, expecting your eighth grade teacher to be part security consultant is a bit of stretch.

True, but figuring out phishing isn't being a security consultant... it's applying critical thinking, which every teacher should be expected to model. Figuring out what happened and preventing future events should be left up to the security consultant, but identifying that someone's phishing you should be up to the individual (although anti-phishing structures should, in a world with no friction, be built-in by the aforementioned security consultant).

Phishing doesn't require technology of any great advancement; I've had people try to phish me by asking for money on the street (which then escalates if you engage them in conversation). Phishing is just one part of the confidence game, and turns out to be really easy via computer networks.

The first defense against phishing is realizing that you aren't too smart to fall for a phish -- properly targeted phishes can con anyone.

Re: Teacher should of been ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610051)

LoLz

Re:Teacher should of been ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610133)

I though teachers were starting to leg behind their students ever since I heard about Debra LaFave....

BWAHAHAH, captcha was improper

Re:Teacher should of been ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610279)

I don't see how the teachers were supposed to figure it out. I was coding a fake login program when I was 12 years old in assembly language that showed a login screen completely identical to the real thing. Once you had entered the username and password, the program logged onto another account, dumped the username and password info there, and then logged into their own account - it then deleted itself from memory.

This was on ancient technology - modern PCs would make this kind of phish very easy. The students had physical access to the machines - the only surprise is that it doesn't happen more often.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43610579)

the only surprise is that it doesn't happen more often.

No, the surprise is that you think it doesn't happen all the time. I worked at a school for a while, and I saw at least a dozen attempts at the fake login hack, and I only saw those that screwed up somehow. I found several by typing CTRL-C before entering my login/password. But if they were smart enough to set up a handler for SIGINT, they would have got me. I found a few more by running "find /users -name '*.c' -print | xargs grep 'Login:'", but that only caught those dumb enough to leave the source code on a school computer.

I never had anyone expelled or even suspended, but none of them actually did anything malicious. Usually I arranged for them to do a week of after school janitorial duties. I figured that was sufficient punishment for not knowing how to write a proper signal handler.

Here is the first rule of security for schools: Any computers which contain important confidential information (grades, health records, etc.) should be completely disconnected from any network accessible to students. Otherwise, they will figure out how to hack it.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | about a year ago | (#43610339)

When I was in high school (late 90s) the "Computer Teacher" was really nothing more than a word processing teacher. All of the classes focused on teaching typing and some very basic computer usage. i.e what is RAM, HD, keyboard, mouse. I phished his password on the regular and he never knew I had it. I did it by having him unlock the computer so I could fix something. I would then install a key logger and re-lock the security software. Once that was done I would tell him that I forgot to make one more change, have him unlock it once more and then recover the password for the key logger.

I mostly used it for good. (fixing network printer mappings, repairing broken OS or network settings) About as mischievous as I got was was installing a first person shooter on a number of the computers and starting an underground FPS club that played during lunch.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610449)

The teachers should of been able to figure out this Phish. Any time a student can up a teacher it means the teachers need training, this is a great example of how teachers are starting to leg behind there students.

Yes, they should HAVE been.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

deteknician (1634255) | about a year ago | (#43610665)

"Teacher should of been" ? Sounds like you don't know much about teachers or schooling in general.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

aztecmonkey (949418) | about a year ago | (#43610675)

Should have or should've. Should of makes no sense.

I suppose everyone who should know better sometimes makes mistakes.

Re:Teacher should of been ready (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43610729)

I'm not arguing that, the first time anything happens it's an opportunity for learning to take place, the second time it's inexcusable.

On other news... WOPR has been acting funny (4, Funny)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year ago | (#43609991)

In related news, the students were found to have changed their grades and purchased airplane tickets.

In other news, the WOPR unit in NORAD is reported to be acting funny. It keeps asking to play games.

It's sad this is news. (1)

Georules (655379) | about a year ago | (#43610005)

I didn't get headlines when I did the same thing in elementary school. Radical thought: This should be a part of standard curriculum.

Re:It's sad this is news. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43610135)

Hell, we didn't even get in the local paper when we ignited the Thermite we found in the chemistry lab. I'll bet there isn't a high school this side of Kandihar that even has thermite in the chemistry lab. Hell, I'll bet there isn't a high school that even has a chemistry lab, period.

No wonder kids these days are all depressed and turn to drugs and sex.

Re:It's sad this is news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610141)

Eh, NT4 password security was lax enough that you could just grab the password database and bruteforce it at home.

Re:It's sad this is news. For a different reason (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610197)

It's sad because here we have a school administrator acting sensibly and not being all "no tolerance" and bullshit.

Good thing this wasn't in Florida..... (3, Insightful)

Spillman (711713) | about a year ago | (#43610023)

They expel and charge kids with felonies for far less....

Re:Good thing this wasn't in Florida..... (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43610101)

Better to kill or enslave the lower classes while their young rather then disenfranchising them after they've got an education...

Re:Good thing this wasn't in Florida..... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610115)

I would make them give a presentation to the faculty and students about common social engineering and phishing techniques and how to avoid being taken in by them. Sounds like a good punishment to me.

Re:Good thing this wasn't in Florida..... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610155)

Serious question: How many of these alaskan kids are black?

Re:Good thing this wasn't in Florida..... (1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#43610353)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]
As of 2010, there were 8,050 people, 3,259 households, and 1,885 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,829.5 per square mile (714.1/km). It is the most densely populated city in Alaska.[citation needed] There were 3,731 housing units at an average density of 848.0 per square mile (330.2/km). The racial makeup of the city was 60.7% White, 16.7% Native American (8.3% Tlingit-Haida, 1.9% Tsimshian), 10.8% Asian (9.4% Filipino), 10.0% from two or more races, 0.8% Black or African American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, and 0.7% some other race. 4.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino (2.6% Mexican) of any race.

Alaska (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610097)

Is Alaska the only place where a sliver of freedom is still left in the US?

Re:Alaska (1)

bagboy (630125) | about a year ago | (#43610179)

Yes - that is why I live, work and play here!

Re:Alaska (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610239)

Yup. It's a red state.

Re:Alaska (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610275)

So you're saying they're communists?

Re:Alaska (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#43610783)

Well, some can see communists from their house.

Nice to hear (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610123)

Me and my friends were doing the same sort of thing on the computer network (BBC Micro) 25 years ago.

We got detention if I remember correctly. It certainly didn't make the news. The fact that it does in 2013 maybe reflects how much society has changed between then and now.

Children shouldn't face any serious punishments for minor "cyber-crimes".

Re:Nice to hear (1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#43610199)

Ditto, but it was a TRS-80 30 years ago.

Re:Nice to hear (3, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | about a year ago | (#43610357)

Yeah, I remember discovering the wonders of net send * School will be closing early today

Betcha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610143)

They were all non-black.

Difference between Alaska and Florida? (4, Informative)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#43610157)

Aside from the temperature...

Apparently in Alaska you can pull a prank and it doesn't get turned into a life-altering jail sentence and you being labeled a terrorist. Alaska may be the last refuge of what being in the United States really used to be all about. Too bad the terrorists won in the lower 48.

Re:Difference between Alaska and Florida? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610381)

I thought that was Canada!

Re:Difference between Alaska and Florida? (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43610851)

Plus, in Alaska you get a really sweet view of Russia.

Re:Difference between Alaska and Florida? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610949)

Well, everyone knows that more socialist countries/states are more rational. By seizing some profits from the oil industry and redistributing them for the public good (the Alaska Permanent Fund), Alaska and its residents have more breathing room for rational democratic policy than the terrified denizens of more privatized states to the south.

Wow.. (1)

jon3k (691256) | about a year ago | (#43610161)

A sudden outbreak of common sense.

Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610167)

Fortunately the school administrators seem to have a taken a realistic and pragmatic viewpoint

The author is probably just joking. That is the worst thing they could do. By saying they're just kids, let's not punish them, they are clearly sending the signal: New kids are welcome to try this again.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610237)

They're s going to be kids that are going to do it again anyway. Might as well follow the suggestions of some of the other folks in the comments and use it as a chance to teach everyone about how not to get suckered.

Most sane non-brainwashed children by their very nature do everything in their power to explore their limits within reason and generally in aways they don't see as threatening.

Re:Eh? (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#43610515)

I'm sure they got detention or something. OP is just pointing out that they weren't arrested, charged with a felony, and tried as an adult as per the current norm.

Re:Eh? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43610875)

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, er uh, can't get fooled again.

OMG! we can't have that! (3, Funny)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#43610213)

logic and reasoning in a schoolhouse, what ever is this nation coming to? this must be stopped!

Re:OMG! we can't have that! (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about a year ago | (#43610305)

Yeah. I probably have nothing to add idea-wise to this story. Just had to chime in that I share this emotion.

What a relief to know that there are non-draconian administrators that can actually administer justice with grace instead of an iron fist.

Re:OMG! we can't have that! (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year ago | (#43610793)

logic and reasoning in a schoolhouse, what ever is this nation coming to? this must be stopped!

Unfortunately, in a mad rush to show "we are serious about ..." school boards and administrators pass zero tolerance policies. As a result the stupid as well as they criminal get punished equally. Schools cannot apply common sense, as much as they may want to, because of the rules. Everyone gets all bothered by draconian punishment for a minor infraction but are unwilling to change rules because they don't want to be held accountable for making a decision that someone will second guess. That is not limited to schools, many lawmakers seem to share the same viewpoint (and then get all upset when something h clearly ridiculous happens as a result of a zero tolerence law THEY PASSED.)

They were easy to catch (5, Funny)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year ago | (#43610349)

since there are only 3 children on Ketchikan

Re:They were easy to catch (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#43611169)

since there are only 3 children on Ketchikan

That probably has a lot of do with it, actually - Ketchikan isn't a huge place, and people end up really knowing each other. Especially parents (since there's probably only one class for the grade). So it wouldn't be surprising if a lot of people knew each other.

You really can't expel them, and the community will provide any necessary punishment above and beyond what punishment is meted out. In small towns, it can easily lead to shunning and exclusion (where the only remedy is moving).

Contrast this with most places where the populations are higher, and people really don't know their neighbours. There the only justice is whatever was handed out by the authorities because if it wasn't your kid, it was someone else who probably you don't know nor attends your school, etc. Just some anonymous kid.

Basically the administrators knew this and acted appropriately - community justice is often quite a bit harsher and softies are quickly discovered. So whatever legal penalties can be applied really won't matter in the end - the punishment of "that's Joe's kid, he's the one who did it" being known to the community is harsh enough.

Do it in a particularly spectacular fashion and you'll be the town legend.

"Exactly like" (4, Interesting)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about a year ago | (#43610367)

Teachers were presented with a display that looked "exactly like" it does when prompted for a software update, but instead it was a request for administrative access, according to district technology supervisor Jurgen Johannsen.

Reading in between the lines I suspect it could have looked wildly different, but the teachers were trained to look for some specific text string which the students got to appear in the elevation dialog.

The UAC dialog is designed to look different if a executable is digitally signed to prevent just this sort of phishing attack. Either the school IT screwed up by not using signed tools, or the teachers were not trained on the differences between the dialogs for signed and unsigned elevations.

Re:"Exactly like" (3, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43610587)

If it is the attacker that presents the dialog, they have full control. It's probably not a real UAC dialog (i.e. produced by the UAC process) of course, just an exact copy of it. So they can have it look just like the "digital signed" version or the "unsigned" version or whatever version.

Re:"Exactly like" (1)

rst123 (2440064) | about a year ago | (#43610983)

I read TFA, and it sounds like teachers often type in passwords for updates and the computers already had remote control software installed, so some kid(s) started the remote control software, told the teacher, "It needs a password to update", and away we go. Not really all that clever, just a little Pavlov [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Pavlov] at work, combined with kids who can lie with a straight face.

me first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610379)

Made a fake UI for the BBC Micro model B in 1988, got the password for *i am syst, oh yes, that got me a 6mth ban from school computer club.

/GASP! Common Sense Reaction (1)

realsilly (186931) | about a year ago | (#43610395)

/clap /clap /clap
It's nice to learn that someone looked at curiosity in a common sense fashion rather than the typical spank-down people get for being smart enough to figure things our for themselves.

The possessive plural of "peer" is "peers'." (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610429)

FYI

We did this, too (1)

ildon (413912) | about a year ago | (#43610461)

If you're not using social engineering to get elevated privileges in your middle/high school's computer network, you're not really a computer geek. Of course, we never got caught (although I'm certain that my high school "computer class" teacher was perfectly aware and just didn't care or even approved as long as we didn't actually fuck up the network).

Re:We did this, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611145)

If you're not a con artist you're not a computer geek? WTF?

Who didnt? (1)

jason777 (557591) | about a year ago | (#43610713)

Lol, we did this too in high school. Mostly so we could set up doom2 and lan play. With Novell netware, there was a peek utility where I could spy/control any students session. Had a lot of fun with that. Funny story: We had a final project in programming class to draw a picture with qbasic graphics commands. I wrote a program to just draw with the mouse, and it generated the circle, point, line, etc code. I gave it to my friend that struggled in the class. He made the most beautiful detailed picture for his end project. The teacher didn't believe that he made it. So he said "ok adam, go write a program right now to draw a simple circle". So I logged in on a machine and made the program and saved it to adam's directory. I forget how I signaled for him to load it, but he did and the teacher got off his back. Adam passed the class. Good times.

1980 High School Arkansas (5, Insightful)

retroworks (652802) | about a year ago | (#43610737)

A chum in my science seminar class hacked into the principal's office phone, so we could listen to him from the classroom whenever we wanted. When it was close to graduation, he got bored and patched the phone line into the school public address speakers, so all day his calls were broadcast in every classroom (they figured it out and he stopped using his phone after an hour or so).

After lunch, the principal called our buddy up to the office. He asked him "Do you by any chance know something about this?" Our buddy said "Yep." Principal said, "Just go fix it and we won't ask any more questions, ok?" He did, and that was that, no call to his parents or anything.

Now in the early 1950s, when my DAD was in high school, they just led a cow upstairs and locked it in the bathroom (Cows can walk up stairs better than they walk down). It's pretty easy to imagine the same kids pulling the same kind of pranks with the technology of the day.

How is this news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610799)

Why would Alaskan children possibly get in trouble for phishing? How else are they supposed to feed themselves when they become adults?

Editing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610843)

In Ketchikan, Alaska, a small group of unidentified students gained access to school-owned computers by using phishing techniques on their teachers. They then used the elevated access to remotely control their peers computers. Fortunately, the school administrators seem to have a taken a realistic and pragmatic viewpoint of the situation, although no official punishment has yet been determined. '"Kids are being kids", (Principal) Robinson said, adding that he was surprised something like this had not already occurred. "They're going to try to do what they try to do. This time we found out about it."

FTFY

An appropriate punish...er consequence? (1)

Mahldcat (1129757) | about a year ago | (#43610889)

Mentioned they haven't thought of how they will take action against the students? Article mentioned that the school had to collect the 300+ computers to be cleaned (and I'm guessing reimaged). I'd really love it if the school shows they were REALLY wise, and made the response action back an apology to both the teachers they phished along with the IT crew who are now goign to have to scan/clean the rigs. Further, make these kiddos come in on the weekend/after school to help on that scan/clean effort (BUT with a choice---N hours working with the IT dept to clean up the mess, or N*4 hours in standard "sit on your backside and do nothing detention). This way they see there is a tangible impact ("cripes...now I have to spend this time cleaning this mess up, when I'd rather be doing something else on a weekend/after school"), but at the same time in a way that they may actually learn something (working with IT), and in some cases perhaps spin their activities towards something more positive?

Used to be pretty bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610913)

When I was in grade 4 at a CSAP school (French school board in Nova Scotia) I had guessed all of the teachers passwords. This is on novell netware mind you.

Grade 4 teacher: Quatre
Grade 5 teacher: Cinq
Principal: Directeur

Etc. Etc.

In Grade 10, I did everyones HTML assignments in Computer studies so that we could play Unreal Tournament. Was pretty fun lol.

Thats it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611121)

I sold grades when I finally got in. Amazing how small changes over a long period of times results in a larger grade.

Mod +5 insightfull (1)

Yakasha (42321) | about a year ago | (#43611173)

Mod those school officials +5 insightful. The technology has changed, but this is little more than a whoopie cushion on the principal's chair.

Send them home for a day to consider that they cost the school some money to fix the computer. Detention for a week... but thank you for not giving them a criminal record.

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