By JEANETTE DeFORGE
The Republican Newsroom
April 08, 2008
CHICOPEE - Six students suspected of trying to hack into school
computers have been suspended and are under investigation by the state
police as well as school authorities.
The students were able to view classmates' passwords used to enter the
school computers. But the school computer system crashed when they tried
to break through security firewalls to access grades, discipline records
and other secure files, Superintendent Richard W. Rege Jr. said today.
"At no time do we believe the student information was breached," he
Educators discovered the hacking attempt because of the system crash on
April 2. At first officials believed the problem was caused by an
equipment malfunction, but suspected a bigger problem when the system
broke down again a day later, Rege said.
"Not every computer went blank, but anyone who tried to get on the
Internet could not," he said. Because most of the school department's
records are kept on an Internet-based system, it did cause severe
When School Technology Director Rose Y. Blais and her staff searched
past use on the system they discovered someone had broken in using
computers at Comprehensive High School.
The information she learned helped Comprehensive High School principal
Stanley F. Kozikowski identify the six students now under investigation.
Each were questioned on Friday, Rege said.
Because of the seriousness of the issue, officials asked the state
police division of cyber crimes to assist school officials to
investigate. Rege said he is uncertain if any criminal charges will be
filed against the students.
One student was studying computer networking. The other five, who did
not have school passwords, are suspected of using those taken when the
student hacked into the system, he said.
With a signed permission slip from parents, every student in the high
school is given their own password and account on the school computer.
They can lose their accounts for weeks at a time if they break rules
such as using the Internet improperly, he said.
The students are not believed to have used the stolen passwords for
anything improper, Rege said.
All six are now suspended and could face expulsion, Rege said.
Although students were not able to access secure information, school
administrators are also examining the system to see if extra security
measures should be added to the computers, Rege said.
Subscribe to InfoSec News