Eleven high students have been expelled from their school after they hacked their teachers’ computers to change their grades.
The students from Corona Del Mar High School, southern California, managed to install a hardware keylogger to obtain their teachers’ login credentials. The students were then able to log in remotely and used the credentials to access information about upcoming tests and to alter their grades.
It is believed that private tutor, Timothy Lance Lai, made the keylogging device accessible for the students and taught them how to use it. Lai is currently wanted by local police for questioning.
One of the students who was involved in the incident has submitted a statement to the police stating he and Mr Lai had gone to the school late at night and placed a keylogger device on the computer of the chemistry teacher.
According to court documents, the police were made aware of the hack in June 2013 when science teacher, Kim Rapp, informed the school administrators that someone had accessed her computer and changed some grades.
Upon the revelations of the hack, school officials’ have started the process of looking into the scope of the incident and are having to analyse 52,000 changes that were made to student grades within the last year.
Six of the students who were involved have already left the school and the other five students have already transferred to another local school.
In a statement released by the high school, it stated that, “an intensive audit of all teachers’ grade books so that we can ensure the integrity and accuracy of all posted grades. Despite needing some time to wrestle with the disappointment of this unfortunate incident, we are confident that the school community will rise above this event.”
Security expert John Hawes believes that as children continue to become more tech savvy, greater security challenges are being posed for organisations and schools.
Hawes stated, “The ever-increasing use of technology in education keeps raising new problems, from security and privacy viewpoints. Kids are endlessly inquisitive so it will always be a challenge to keep them out of things they want to pry into, but it shouldn’t be beyond our capabilities.”
It is now imperative that a strong security plan is in place and is regularly tested to help reduce the likelihood of your organisation suffering a data breach which could have unprecedented consequences. This should be supported by a robust backup solution so data can be recovered to the desired version if it is modified or deleted.