Middle Schooler Charged With Felony For Using Teacher's Incredibly Insecure Network Password

A 14-year-old from Florida's Pasco County has learned the hard way that gaining unauthorized access to someone else's computer - no matter how easily it's accomplished - is a major offense.

While media reports not surprisingly jump to the claim of "hacking", access was gained via a known password - the teacher's last name. Yes, really. According to the student, it was common for students to log in and goof around, mostly tapping into school cameras to see friends.

Despite the fact that the school clearly has some appalling security practices, unauthorized access is unauthorized access. Made even worse, this computer had data stored that could have been taken and possibly made use of, though it seems the important stuff (FCAT files) was encrypted.

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Flickr: Simon Lieschke

Says sheriff Chris Nocco, "Even though some might say this is just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done."

I say, "Who's surprised this is blown out of proportion?" I think the biggest fault here lays with the school. In this day and age, this teacher and / or school deemed it sufficient to password a computer with the teacher's last name? It doesn't get much more ridiculous than that.

This story brings me back to a similar experience I had at around the same age. Our school's computer class consisted mostly of Macs and DOS-based PCs, and preferring Windows over either of those, I hit up one PC and simply typed in 'win' to see if the OS happened to be installed. Sure enough, it was. A glorious program-filled Windows 3.x loaded up, but before I could enjoy it, the teacher's eagle eyes locked-on and was followed by a scolding. It's probably a good thing I didn't need a password to pull that off, though something tells me it would not have been as big of a deal back then.


Tags:  security
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