It’s a real-life, modern-day War Games! Last week, a Concord, California teenager hacked into his school’s computer system via a phishing scheme. The hacker was charged with 14 felony counts for his crime.
16-year-old David Rotaro sent an email to the email addresses of his teachers containing a link to a fake website. The website was a mock version of the Mount Diablo Unified School District’s network portal. Those who clicked on it were then asked to submit their IDs and passwords—just like with the legit site. However, this site was managed by Rotaro who hijacked the accounts of the educators who entered their information. So far, only one teacher admitted to following the link and plugging in their data.
What Did The High School Hacker Do With The Information?
According to investigators, Rotaro used the teacher’s ID and password to access the portal. He then went and changed many of his grades as well as the grades of a dozen other students. Making matters worse, Rotaro didn’t just raise grades, he also lowered some.
The investigation didn’t just involve the Contra Cost County task force, but the United States Secret Service as well. Authorities utilized IP addresses to track Rotaro down. They also brought in a K-9 unit to help sniff out hidden computer hardware. The police dogs uncovered a flash drive that was stowed in a tissue box.
Following his arrest, Rotaro admitted that he committed the crime and even bragged to the media “that it was like stealing candy from a baby.”
Is Being A High School Hacker A Path Towards Bigger Cyber Crimes?
While hacking into a school’s computer system and changing some grades may not seem terrible—especially when compared to other crimes happening in schools across the country—it is illegal. Hacking and phishing are causing a great amount of trouble for many—along with the misuse of spy phone app software.
Sure, this could have been worse—and it appears Rotaro only did it once. But human nature has proven that those who do bad things and get away with them will try again. And they’ll often up the stakes each time.
What’s your opinion of the this high school hacker? Do you think he’s a future cyber criminal? Or do you think this was just a one-time thing? Tell us in the comments section below.