Feeds

Nine year-old blamed for US school system hack

Youngster uses teacher's login to redraw Blackboard

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Police hunting a hacker who had attacked a US school's systems found themselves cornering a "very intelligent" 9 year old instead, it has emerged.

When passwords for teachers at Spring Hill Elementary, Virginia, were changed without authorisation the school board initially thought a hacker had broken into the school district's Blackboard system.

Police were called in to investigate in mid-March and were quickly able to trace the incident back to a PC at the home of a 9 year-old school student.

The youngster's mother was initially chief suspect in the hack but after speaking to her and and her son police came to the surprising conclusion that they were dealing with a 'kindergarden' hacker.

"He's a very intelligent 9-year-old,with no criminal intent," Officer Don Gotthardt, who investigated the case, told The Washington Post.

The precocious and mischievous youngster recorded login details to the Blackboard system from a teacher's desk before using the login credentials to modify class enrolment lists, change the password login details of teachers and modify homework assignments.

"This was a case where an individual ... got hold of a teacher's password, and the passwords had administrative rights," a Fairfax school board spokesman said. No action was taken against the unnamed student, at least by the authorities.

The Blackboard system provides an online forum to detail homework assignments and make class announcements. Blackboard downplayed the significance of the unauthorised access onto supervisor account by saying an intruder would not have been able to change grades or access more sensitive school resources.

The firm disputes local reports that the installation of its technology at the school was hacked. "It was actually not a hack, unless you consider the fact that the 9-year-old took the teacher's username and password from the desk a hack," said Michael Stanton, Blackboard's senior vice president of corporate affairs told IDG. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.