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back to article Students busted for hacking computers, changing grades

Three high school juniors have been arrested after they devised a sophisticated hacking scheme to up their grades and make money selling quiz answers to their classmates. The students are accused of breaking into the janitor’s office of California's Palos Verdes High School and making a copy of the master key, giving them access …

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Facepalm

Not that bright

They got caught

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FAIL

More to the point, they got greedy.

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initiative 10/10

Execution of plan 1/10

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If they were really bright...

...they wouldn't have needed to hack in to up their grades in the first place.

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Re: they got greedy

Indeed. It was a brilliant plan right up to the point where they told everyone in the school that they'd done it and that unless these other students gave them cash (to buy a set of answers) they'd get worse grades than their classmates.

The surprise here is that it took them so long to find a classmate who realised that the cheap way out of this dilemma was to shop the idiots. How many people paid up?

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Do it once,

do it big, and never ever do it again.

High School grades, purlease!

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They seem perfectly well adapted to real life

Not to the bromide retardo make-believe bullcrap for Delta-Minus Semi-Morons one gets force-fed in highschool.

> when another student heard of the offer and snitched to the school principal.

A candidate for concrete foot appears!

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Sir

They say that two people can keep a secret - if one of them's dead.

Shouldn'a told aaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeooooooone.

IQ:A+

CS*:E

CS = Common Sense

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To quote ZB

Ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking, OK.

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Happy

This brings back memories.

Specifically the time we stole a history exam from the teacher's bag while he was standing next to it. Photocopied it all and stressed (especially to the more moronic ones) to not answer much more correctly than normal --- that way, it frees up their time, takes away their stress and makes them some more marks than expected.

But oh no. One of them actually took the photocopied original into the exam room and made up his almost-correct paraphrasing there, sitting in his unfeasibly large heap of papers (two sets of questions, plus copied plus handwritten answers).

But that was not in the UK, with teacher-set instead of central examinationg --- in the UK that sort of thing only happens by paying the boss of the Edexcel exam board who also runs a private business coaching for edexcel exam taking.

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Coat

Clearly, you are a hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is

Don't mind me, I'm off to find the icon of a two-headed alien.

Mine's the one with the towel around the collar, thanks.

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Trollface

Apparently...

Apparently Goldman Sachs has already offered them a Harvard Scholarship.

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Anonymous Coward

There were movies about this in the '80s. Where is the news?

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Mushroom

WarGames

"The only winning move is not to play"

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Headmaster

"They were very smart"?

Is this to imply that they are no longer smart, or have all been sent for lethal injections, you know, to make an example?

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Anonymous Coward

They were all suspended or expelled from school which means they would have been watching daytime talk shows. After a week of this their intelligence scores will have dropped significantly.

I once sat through an entire Jeremy Kyle show. It took a month for me to learn to write my name again.

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Facepalm

S M R T. I mean S M A R T

"They were very smart"

Were they? I don't think the principal has realised the problem in being shocked that they were honour roll students with great grades, who, erm, only got great grades once they changed them.. :-)

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They were indeed smart at the initial stages, right until they overplayed their hand.

For example, they could have stolen the masterkey tipping off the janitor that something's afoot -- smart. Becoming greedy -- not smart.

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*hardware* is for SpecOps

OK kids, hacking 101: planting hardware is for when you have physical backup (and I don't mean TimeCapsule; I mean jocks in skymasks with assault rifles).

What is wrong with a simple keylogging trojan reporting to, say, Usenet -or twitter, to be modern, introduced together with a "kim K nude" screensaver to make sure evidence will be wiped before LE is called? Hardware is the ultimate evidence. That means BAD, in case you wondered. Do not use it. Not feeling so bright now, heh?

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Actually hardware is king

With software you need administrative access on the systems in question, which I am sure they did not have. Second, you actually get in less trouble with hardware than you do with software (HW keyloggers are not illegal to own, where a piece of malware is). Third, hardware is much harder to detect, yes you have an object on the aback of the system, but many if the HW keyloggers I have seen are pretty small and some look just like those PS/2 to USB adapters, so they would assume it belongs there even if they were looking right at it; whereas a software keylogger can be detected in mere seconds by the antivirus software.

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Pint

@ Crazy Operations Guy: Joke obviously

That was a jocular comment along the lines of the bad movie plot these kids obviously followed. Hackers do not usually have sky-masked, assault-rifled backup. Well I hope they don't!

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Headmaster

advised teachers to change their passwords???

WTF?

What's wrong with enforced password changes?

Teacher, obviously.

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School I worked at once 98% of the teachers had 12345 as their password till we forced them to change then they went 123456.... the principal had the never to be guessed 54321.... that account also had full access to the boards network...

Me and my boss quit due to the security nightmare that place was cause no one would listen to us... Our higher up even made us make the admin password abc123, on the server, and routers cause the ones we originally had (it was a randomly generated password) were too hard to type in(I kid you not that was the reasoning)

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Anonymous Coward

They may have had enforced password changes. In this situation, enforced password changes don't make a difference as they had key loggers attached and could just take the new password once changed.

Once the key loggers were removed, then it's a good time to change your already compromised password. Which is what they were advising.

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Anonymous Coward

I work for a school district so I feel fairly safe in answering this. Of the many times one or another of us in the IT department has suggested some sort of password policy we have had success exactly once. That one time the only effect was to enforce a six character minimum.

I kid you not: we have everthing from 123456 to the users first name as passwords here and they never expire. The only time anyone's ever been forced to change a password (to my knowledge) has been when they were foolish enough to give me thier password, and I had to defend that the first time I checked the 'force user to change password' box. Fortunately my boss had the sense to go along with my refusal to know anyone's password but my own. The complaining party had suggested that I just forget it.

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Anonymous Coward

They make prisons for people in denial

If they needed to hack to up their grades, they ain't that smart - as they are soon to learn.

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WTF?

Prison?

Is that your answer for everything Morris?

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Coat

Youth these days....

"devised a sophisticated hacking scheme to up their grades and make money selling quiz answers to their classmates."

In MY day, they'd promote you to Captain of a starship for that!

Scotty, one to beam up, don't forgot my coat.

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Joke

Very funny Scotty.

Now beam down my clothes!

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Kobayashi Maru

(n/t)

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Anonymous Coward

Government departments and corporate boardrooms [especially in the UK] are filled with more than their fair share of people who can barely tell the time of day, yet sport impressive qualifications from prestigeous schools and universities.

Stealing is wrong. If these kids were thick but wanted better grades, they should have paid for them, like our leaders had to do.

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Devil

nah

it wouldnt have worked i the UK. Teachers cant be bothered to put their grades in until the final deadline dates so any grades that were in early would be instantly suspicious. Plus the MIS would fall over if too many grades were put in. And the USB ports are all falling to bits due to chewing gum so even the students wouldnt have been able to use the USB ports.

They would have given up long before and simply bribed the teachers with fags and booze.

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Here I was

scratching my head - marvelling at all the technological advances I've witnessed. Now you tell me it's the 80's again? Please help

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Anyone?

GRACE!

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Sir

"Let's get the prom queen....."

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Anonymous Coward

Presumably

this also falls under the remit of terrorism offences...

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Anonymous Coward

no they haven't launched that false flag yet

"terrorists" use military grade explosives to destroy school records, presumably because they hate our school records? Government announces that going forward school records will be kept by the police but dont worry its not a police state its just to protect you.

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FAIL

Pretty complex compared to...

the extent that we had to go to to get admin access on the school network - admin2 / changeme, thanks RM default passwords and stupid IT staff.

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i wish someone would put the kids in charge of the school

tired of schools run by idiots you know?

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Anonymous Coward

Password

I still remember our CS teacher's password for the entire network - "rem". Didn't require any super-sleuthing techniques, just watched him pigeon-type the password in one day. Never figured out if it was a throw-back to the BASIC comment command, or a fan of Michael Stipe et al... I suspect the latter.

I'm hoping he's changed it if he hasn't retired already..

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Devil

Cleaners

Always had the best access, in my day I simply asked them to open the door. As if I was allowed to go where I was. I didn't cheat grades. I just wanted to play games, so I needed to own the network.

If you have physical access....

Oooo Weird.... 25 years on and I repair PC's. Given physical access, I can still make them do anything, (have yet to run up against bitlocker)

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indeed

first thing I did when I started rolling out W7 - bitlocker. AD password complexity still doesnt stop a teacher with Qwertyuiop1. Add "password history" and I shit you not they will change the password X times only to change it back to Qwertyuiop1 again. And teachers wonder why I have to add them to an "allowed OWA" firewall group/remote access/webdav etc.

Get decent passwords and i'll let you use the system remotely.

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Principal Nick Stephany is shocked

I don't think so, the principal should be sanctioned for allowing his computer system to be so easily hacked ..

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Anonymous Coward

Too dumb to know better

Can't they claim Arsewipers Syndrome like McKinnon?

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Meh

"Arsewipers Syndrome"

Tends to happen daily for me - eating seems to help it on its way

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Joke

only a few years ago

Only a few years ago this would be deemed one of the best qualifications to get into the security industry. Though personaly why they recruit people who got caught is beyond me. Maybe next time somebody will get replica keyboards, add the keylogger inside the keyboard with remote bluetooth control to get the illgoten typings and ship the keyboards to the school as replacements under health and safty waffle and be safer :).

That all said, there are alot of people in schools who could of executed such a plan of there's, indeed making your own master key from scratch in metalwork classes would of been more the standard. It gets down to mentality. Anybody can say hand over the cash in a bank, remarkably few people try it, go figure.

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Anonymous Coward

Just stupid

Hacking is just stupid and it certainly would not be a good qualification to get a job in the security industry. It may be a good means to get free room and board at a prison however.

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It says a lot about the state of IT security awareness in the UK

that we call "buy a key logger from think-geek, plug it in, unplug it again" a sophisticated hacking scheme...

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