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Alaskan Middle Schoolers Phish Their Teachers 215

Posted by timothy
from the deadliest-catch dept.
lukej writes "In Ketchikan, Alaska a small group of unidentified students gained access to school owned computers by using phishing techniques on their teachers. The then used the elevated access to remotely control their peers computers. Fortunately the school administrators seem to have a taken a realistic and pragmatic viewpoint of the situation, although no official punishment has yet been determined. '"Kids are being kids," (Principal) Robinson said, adding that he was surprised something like this had not already occurred. "They're going to try to do what they try to do. This time we found out about it."'" And no one got arrested.
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Alaskan Middle Schoolers Phish Their Teachers

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  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @10:54AM (#43609991)

    In related news, the students were found to have changed their grades and purchased airplane tickets.

    In other news, the WOPR unit in NORAD is reported to be acting funny. It keeps asking to play games.

  • I didn't get headlines when I did the same thing in elementary school. Radical thought: This should be a part of standard curriculum.
    • Hell, we didn't even get in the local paper when we ignited the Thermite we found in the chemistry lab. I'll bet there isn't a high school this side of Kandihar that even has thermite in the chemistry lab. Hell, I'll bet there isn't a high school that even has a chemistry lab, period.

      No wonder kids these days are all depressed and turn to drugs and sex.

      • Hell my chem teacher in high school had a 6" flower pot filled with the stuff and lit it. It went great until it melted the rock he put in the bottom and molten iron started pouring out the bottom and onto the floor. He was also know to light the gas outlet on fire at the table in front if someone wasn't paying attention during a lecture. Unfortunatly they had cleaned the chemical locker so the really neat stuff was gone, no more phosphors or sodium but there was still a 1 quart container with mercury in it
      • by cellocgw (617879)

        No wonder kids these days are all depressed and turn to drugs and sex

        Hey, wait a minute. Don't all the happy kids turn to sex and drugs (and rocknroll) too?

        But, back to serious stuff, it is very sad what passes for Chem, and home-chemistry sets these days. By way of comparison, Google around and download yourself a copy of the Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments (or title similar to that). It's full of very cool stuff to do.

  • They expel and charge kids with felonies for far less....
    • Better to kill or enslave the lower classes while their young rather then disenfranchising them after they've got an education...

  • by tekrat (242117) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:06AM (#43610157) Homepage Journal

    Aside from the temperature...

    Apparently in Alaska you can pull a prank and it doesn't get turned into a life-altering jail sentence and you being labeled a terrorist. Alaska may be the last refuge of what being in the United States really used to be all about. Too bad the terrorists won in the lower 48.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Plus, in Alaska you get a really sweet view of Russia.

    • by moeinvt (851793)

      They weren't immediately arrested, but I think it's a little too early to believe that nothing's going to happen. The principal was obviously downplaying it, but he left the door open for what the consequences will be.
      The laws regarding unauthorized computer access are mainly federal laws. I'd be concerned that the local federal prosecutor would decide to take an interest.

    • by gexcolo (2824717)

      Aside from the temperature...

      Apparently in Alaska you can pull a prank and it doesn't get turned into a life-altering jail sentence and you being labeled a terrorist. Alaska may be the last refuge of what being in the United States really used to be all about. Too bad the terrorists won in the lower 48.

      Alaskan resident here. If you're looking for a region where terrorists haven't won, I'm sorry to say that Alaska isn't for you. Ketchican has just over 8,000 people, making it pretty rural. In more populated areas of the state (Mat-Su valley, Anchorage), it's not that way at all. I once gained access to the password protected wireless for my school in the Mat-Su Valley with no malicious intents, and was almost expelled from the district because of it. To make things worse, Alaska is one of the only areas o

  • by jon3k (691256)
    A sudden outbreak of common sense.
  • by swschrad (312009) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:10AM (#43610213) Homepage Journal

    logic and reasoning in a schoolhouse, what ever is this nation coming to? this must be stopped!

    • Yeah. I probably have nothing to add idea-wise to this story. Just had to chime in that I share this emotion.

      What a relief to know that there are non-draconian administrators that can actually administer justice with grace instead of an iron fist.
    • logic and reasoning in a schoolhouse, what ever is this nation coming to? this must be stopped!

      Unfortunately, in a mad rush to show "we are serious about ..." school boards and administrators pass zero tolerance policies. As a result the stupid as well as they criminal get punished equally. Schools cannot apply common sense, as much as they may want to, because of the rules. Everyone gets all bothered by draconian punishment for a minor infraction but are unwilling to change rules because they don't want to be held accountable for making a decision that someone will second guess. That is not limited

  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:19AM (#43610349) Journal
    since there are only 3 children on Ketchikan
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      since there are only 3 children on Ketchikan

      That probably has a lot of do with it, actually - Ketchikan isn't a huge place, and people end up really knowing each other. Especially parents (since there's probably only one class for the grade). So it wouldn't be surprising if a lot of people knew each other.

      You really can't expel them, and the community will provide any necessary punishment above and beyond what punishment is meted out. In small towns, it can easily lead to shunning and exclusion (where the o

      • . . .Ketchikan isn't a huge place. . .

        But it's not all that small, either. It's the fifth largest city [wikipedia.org] in the state, though areas like Wasilla have a significant population outside the city boundary. The middle school had enrollment of 295 [wikipedia.org] for two grades in 2009, so there are probably about 150 students in each grade.

        Both the town and the schools are a lot bigger than where I went to school, so it seems to me that that's more than large enough to get lost in.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by antoine64 (915204)
      I grew up in Ketchikan. It is a small town on an island but the total population is not that small. it's around 10,000. In 1987 when I was attending, there were about 400 kids in Schoenbar Jr High when I was there and there were around 800 kids in the high school.
  • "Exactly like" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:21AM (#43610367) Homepage

    Teachers were presented with a display that looked "exactly like" it does when prompted for a software update, but instead it was a request for administrative access, according to district technology supervisor Jurgen Johannsen.

    Reading in between the lines I suspect it could have looked wildly different, but the teachers were trained to look for some specific text string which the students got to appear in the elevation dialog.

    The UAC dialog is designed to look different if a executable is digitally signed to prevent just this sort of phishing attack. Either the school IT screwed up by not using signed tools, or the teachers were not trained on the differences between the dialogs for signed and unsigned elevations.

    • Re:"Exactly like" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:41AM (#43610587)

      If it is the attacker that presents the dialog, they have full control. It's probably not a real UAC dialog (i.e. produced by the UAC process) of course, just an exact copy of it. So they can have it look just like the "digital signed" version or the "unsigned" version or whatever version.

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      Presumably, the students learned what this specific text string was and printed it to the screen.

  • /clap /clap /clap
    It's nice to learn that someone looked at curiosity in a common sense fashion rather than the typical spank-down people get for being smart enough to figure things our for themselves.

  • If you're not using social engineering to get elevated privileges in your middle/high school's computer network, you're not really a computer geek. Of course, we never got caught (although I'm certain that my high school "computer class" teacher was perfectly aware and just didn't care or even approved as long as we didn't actually fuck up the network).

  • by retroworks (652802) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:54AM (#43610737) Homepage Journal

    A chum in my science seminar class hacked into the principal's office phone, so we could listen to him from the classroom whenever we wanted. When it was close to graduation, he got bored and patched the phone line into the school public address speakers, so all day his calls were broadcast in every classroom (they figured it out and he stopped using his phone after an hour or so).

    After lunch, the principal called our buddy up to the office. He asked him "Do you by any chance know something about this?" Our buddy said "Yep." Principal said, "Just go fix it and we won't ask any more questions, ok?" He did, and that was that, no call to his parents or anything.

    Now in the early 1950s, when my DAD was in high school, they just led a cow upstairs and locked it in the bathroom (Cows can walk up stairs better than they walk down). It's pretty easy to imagine the same kids pulling the same kind of pranks with the technology of the day.

  • Mod those school officials +5 insightful. The technology has changed, but this is little more than a whoopie cushion on the principal's chair.

    Send them home for a day to consider that they cost the school some money to fix the computer. Detention for a week... but thank you for not giving them a criminal record.

  • At my college they had Intel GMA graphics so we hit ctrl-alt-arrow key to flip all the displays upside down. He thought it was pretty funny.
  • we did that 20 years ago. Spoofed a Novell login prompt. The first catch was the teacher with the admin rights :-)

    But it wasn't that much fun anymore when we were officially granted access to the server a year later.

  • A little early to determine whether or not sanity will prevail in the aftermath. The principal's statement indicates that the consequences are TBD.

    Also, I thought that most of these computer "crimes" were based on federal laws. Would it be up to the school to decide whether or not to pursue criminal charges?

  • I always heard phishing was best in Alaska...

  • Back when, at university we all had timeshare accounts on an Amdahl 470V/8. Now if you needed more account time (to play SPACWR probably) you could beg some from the TA's, but the best way was to get another users password, and use their account and their computer $ to play. The came the Valentines day dance. There was a guest list circulating with everyone's name plus the name of their date (so we could make fancy place cards or something). We scammed a copy of the list and headed for the terminal room. We
  • Ketchican -- a quaint drinking village with a phishing problem.
    (Apologies to Homer, Alaska, the "quaint drinking village with a fishing problem.")

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