In addition to causing information loss and disruption in normal operations, recent ransomware attacks in dozens of schools in the U.S. could lead to other undesirable consequences, such as influencing children’s behavior. Information security specialists report that a high school student in Riverside, California, faces serious accusations from school authorities, who claim that the child tricked his teachers into accessing the school’s systems and change their grades.
Police in Riverside have reportedly requested that the 15-year-old boy be charged with computer intrusion. The child would have posed as a high-ranking official to contact some high school teachers and request their usernames and passwords to access the school’s online platform.
After the teachers fell into the trap and handed over their access keys, the young man accessed the school’s systems, altered his grades by making them higher and took advantage to lower the grades of other students, even added some discipline reports. The incident was detected after some of the affected students notified the administrative staff, who informed the authorities, the information security experts mentioned. It is presumed that the minor in question studies at Encore Junior & Senior High School for the Arts; the kid’s identity will remain anonymous due to their age.
It is not yet known whether charges have been brought against the child for the alleged hacking incident; Riverside police and the county district attorney have not responded to requests for information from various media.
According to information security specialists, other similar incidents have been reported in high schools in other locations, such as Newport Beach and San Dimas, where some students have also been accused of improperly accessing school systems to alter their grades.
Another similar incident occurred at Corona del Mar High School. The students at this school hired a private tutor to change their grades and also steal some exams. The person responsible pleaded guilty to computer fraud and theft of confidential information. Finally, the person responsible received a one-year prison sentence and five years probation; in addition, eleven students were expelled from school after the incident.
A few days ago, a cybersecurity incident was reported in some Louisiana schools that halted operations at various facilities. The state governor stated that this occurred due to a ransomware attack perpetrated by an as yet unidentified hacker group; the state government even declared a cybersecurity alert, so they hope to invest the resources needed to restore systems to their regular state.