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Chicopee computers crash; 6 students suspended




Chicopee computers crash; 6 students suspended
Chicopee computers crash; 6 students suspended



http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/04/chicopee_computers_crash_6_stu.html 

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 
said.

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 
problems.

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.


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