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Michigan student hacker shows holes in district’s system

October 13, 2018
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Jeremy Currier, with his parents Ted and Janet Currier at his home where he participates in the Oxford virtual academy online high school on a computer that he built at their home in Rochester Hills, Mich., on Sept. 22, 2018. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Student hackers have shown vulnerabilities in a Michigan school district’s cybersecurity system.

The Rochester Community School District recently addressed a hacking incident and recommended students change their passwords, The Detroit News reported. The district is working to ensure none of its digital information was “altered, destroyed or transferred,” said Superintendent Robert Shaner.

“We are living in unprecedented times, and school districts also remain a target for hacking,” he said. “Computer and technology use is a privilege in our schools, and all students are expected to behave responsibly.”

Jeremy Currier and another student were suspended and expelled in May for gaining improper administrative access to the district’s IT system.

The two students found a note with a username and password about two years ago, according to a letter from Currier’s parents. They installed software onto the district’s computer system, which allowed them to access district cameras, as well as student and teacher files. Currier’s family said the students didn’t change grades or disclose personal information.

The district said it’s incurred significant expense to remedy the breach, including reassigning an employee to investigate the issue and purchasing additional software.

“Jeremy also admitted the other student had used district resources to ‘mine’ for cryptocurrency, in an effort to make a profit,” said Elizabeth David, the district’s chief human resources officer.

Mining for cryptocurrency involves using computing power to verify transactions and can be lucrative, according to computer experts. The school district declined to comment on if the students made any profit from the cryptocurrency.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the case, according to an official.


Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/

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