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MacBytes
Aug 10, 2005, 09:15 AM
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Category: News and Press Releases
Link: Kutztown Hackers use ibooks to turn the tables on administrators. (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20050810091532)

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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MBHockey
Aug 10, 2005, 09:38 AM
Haha, that's awesome.

The school definitely overreacted with the whole court thing, though.

outerspaceapple
Aug 10, 2005, 09:54 AM
lol, yah. Poor misguided kids "downloading iChat." Which reminds me, don't macs come pre-loaded with iChat? i didn't think you could "download" it even if you wanted to. Maybe from a p2p program or something.. but i doubt it.

Charging a kid with a felony because you tape the admin password to the back of their computer and expect them *not* to use it is ludacris (sp?). These government and school officials are really being bastards here. :mad:

nagromme
Aug 10, 2005, 10:18 AM
It says there many disciplinary attempts made BEFORE taking the step of going to the police. IF that's the case, then I don't have a problem with taking action against the kids. An example: the school could have knowingly had a faulty lock on their file cabinet--that doesn't mean you just let kids get away with breaking into it. They do it a few times, get punished and warned... and they keep doing it. The kids ARE in the wrong.

AND the school is very stupid about the password. But that doesn't make the kids right to break rules. It IS acceptable to me to ask students to obey rules because they are rules and NOT just because it's impossible to break that rule. What are kids learning if they only things that are "wrong" are physically impossible anyway? There will always be rules that demand kids have some restraint and NOT do something just because it's physically possible.

I don't know how FAR I'd take it legally if I was the school (a felony? really depends on what they DID exactly once they were in) but I certainly think the parents are doing their own kids a disservice if they suggest that this behavior is "creative" and deserves a "reward." So is graffiti, etc.

That said...

"The administrative password that allowed students to reconfigure computers and obtain unrestricted Internet access was easy to obtain. A shortened version of the school's street address, the password was taped to the backs of the computers."

Ah ha! This PROVES that Macs are insecure! Schools should NOT be using Macs. Think of the children! Don't these schools know we're at war?!

(I bet some people really WILL walk away from this story thinking that.)

iJon
Aug 10, 2005, 11:00 AM
That's awesome. Those kids are having some good ol' fun. Who knows what I would have done if our school had Macs. It would all come back to me though. I hope these kids get good lawyers and prove that taping the password on the back of the computer was a dumb ass idea anyways.

jon

OhEsTen
Aug 10, 2005, 11:03 AM
It IS acceptable to me to ask students to obey rules because they are rules and NOT just because it's impossible to break that rule. What are kids learning if they only things that are "wrong" are physically impossible anyway? There will always be rules that demand kids have some restraint and NOT do something just because it's physically possible.

well said.

Rules like that prepare a kid to grow up un a mature society and teach them moral responsibility so they can become responsible, mature and moral adult citizens. Hmm.....I guess now that only sounds like a pipe-dream in this do-what-you-feel-like, screw-YOUR-rights-MY-rights-are-more-important, we're-at-WAR-people society.

mrsebastian
Aug 10, 2005, 11:38 AM
[bleep], i need to go secure the rights to the movie war games! then i can revise the script with these kids names, so it will be "based on a true story" and sell that [bleep] to some hollywood studio. [bleep] man, that's better than a lotto ticket...

ok seriously, wtf?! without a debate about disciplining children, step one and what seems rather obvious to me... take the [bleeping] laptop away! [thank you captain obvious!] they're kids man, they're gonna do [bleep] like that, what'd you expect, don't you remember doing bad stuff when you were a kid?! next is easy, detention, suspension, expulsion, let 'em sit back a year... i dunno... make 'em inseminate cows for the summer, [bleep] take your pick... god, the stupidity is mind-[bleeping]-numbing... i need a smoke :mad:

winmacguy
Aug 10, 2005, 01:51 PM
"The administrative password that allowed students to reconfigure computers and obtain unrestricted Internet access was easy to obtain. A shortened version of the school's street address, the password was taped to the backs of the computers."

Doh!

Thats like leaving the key to the brewery under a rock by the front door and not expecting it to be found. Duh! I know it is morally wrong to break in but could they have made it any easier?

There is no accounting for stupidity. :rolleyes:

nagromme
Aug 10, 2005, 02:15 PM
take the [bleeping] laptop away! [thank you captain obvious!]

Or just take the [bleeping] piece of tape away :D

RJP31484
Aug 10, 2005, 02:40 PM
It sounds like the administration is just so embarrassed at themselves for making it so easy to remove the filter that they are releasing their anger by lashing out at the students themselves. ;)

ITASOR
Aug 10, 2005, 02:59 PM
I wish we got iBooks at school. :-\

cardiac dave
Aug 10, 2005, 03:17 PM
The kids were loaned the laptops as 'tools' with the intended use as for schoolwork. They signed agreements which spelled out what the computers proper use was.

If you're given a company car, there are usually provisions that you don't speed, you don't tow a trailer, you don't carry firearms.... if you break the rules, you lose the car and maybe get fired.

These kids are given computers with the provisions that they don't install additional software, they don't use it for porn, they don't use it to hack...

They broke the rules!

If they don't like the rules, then they should have bought their own [bleeping] computer. You want a free computer? You better follow the rules. :mad:

greatdevourer
Aug 10, 2005, 03:53 PM
I hope our school admin doesn't read this. He might get ideas...

shamino
Aug 10, 2005, 05:58 PM
It says there many disciplinary attempts made BEFORE taking the step of going to the police. IF that's the case, then I don't have a problem with taking action against the kids. An example: the school could have knowingly had a faulty lock on their file cabinet--that doesn't mean you just let kids get away with breaking into it. They do it a few times, get punished and warned... and they keep doing it. The kids ARE in the wrong.
No, you're wrong.

If the students are abusing their school-issued computer, then you take away the computer and tell the parents to provide their own equipment.

You do not allow him to keep the computer and file criminal charges against him. That's just being mean and vindictive.

shamino
Aug 10, 2005, 06:02 PM
The kids were loaned the laptops as 'tools' with the intended use as for schoolwork. They signed agreements which spelled out what the computers proper use was.
And I'm sure this agreement didn't say "we'll press felony criminal charges against you if you violate them."
If you're given a company car, there are usually provisions that you don't speed, you don't tow a trailer, you don't carry firearms.... if you break the rules, you lose the car and maybe get fired.
Absolutely. And by analogy, the school should have taken away the computers and maybe suspended the students.
If they don't like the rules, then they should have bought their own [bleeping] computer. You want a free computer? You better follow the rules. :mad:
Nobody's saying they should get away with what they did, but the punishment must fit the crime.

Felony criminal charges are insane. Why don't you charge them with terrorism and have them executed while you're at it?

macnulty
Aug 10, 2005, 07:59 PM
What I don't understand is why didn't the school just take back the ibooks and change the password as soon as the problem was known? Everyone could get on with their life.

ethernet76
Aug 11, 2005, 12:07 AM
And I'm sure this agreement didn't say "we'll press felony criminal charges against you if you violate them."
Absolutely. And by analogy, the school should have taken away the computers and maybe suspended the students.
Nobody's saying they should get away with what they did, but the punishment must fit the crime.

Felony criminal charges are insane. Why don't you charge them with terrorism and have them executed while you're at it?

From the article:
The Kutztown Area School District begs to differ. It says it reported the students to police only after detentions, suspensions and other punishments failed to deter them from breaking school rules governing computer usage.

They should be charged.

The basic principle here is that most people don't consider computer related crimes to be true crimes. They are. I don't know if the specific students charged have been punished prior to the filing of charges, but spying on administrators is pretty serious stuff.

Bad security doesn't validate their crime anymore had they broken a password with entropy of 100.

Just because your neighbour's wireless is unsecured does not mean you have a right to use it.

MacFan782040
Aug 11, 2005, 12:58 AM
haha i live like an hour north of Kutztown and Im going to college there....... This article was in our local newspaper too. It's crazy how thigns like this get so much attention and media.

shamino
Aug 11, 2005, 11:08 AM
From the article:
The Kutztown Area School District begs to differ. It says it reported the students to police only after detentions, suspensions and other punishments failed to deter them from breaking school rules governing computer usage.
And yet nobody ever thought to just confiscate the computer?

No. They were looking to make an example out of some kids and to get themselves in the news.

K12MacTech
Aug 11, 2005, 11:16 AM
Interesting to see the viewpoint presented at a website in support of the students: http://www.cutusabreak.org/

They claim that a couple of the students tried to voluntarily turn their iBooks in, and were "forced" to keep them. Sounds like "oh please, take it away, I can't resist the temptation!"

The administration overreacted. The students were clearly in the wrong and deserve to face the consequences, but felony charges is a bit extreme. The IT people were foolish. And parents need to accept responsibility and not cry foul that the mean old school administration did not stop darling Johnny from hacking into their computer.

I will watch the developements of this story with interest, as I am in an IT position with similar concerns at another PA school district. However we do not have a situation with laptops going home and allowing greater time to experiment. We don't rely on ARD to monitor web usage - we have filtering in place at the network level rather than workstation. The ports required for iChat are closed at our proxy. Even if a student found out the admin password on our systems, it really would not allow them to bypass much of anything, since all the activities we care about stopping or monitoring are taken care of at a higher level. Beyond that it is up to teachers to have an awareness in the classroom and building level administrators to discipline when infractions occur. And the discipline policy needs to be clearly defined, and follow a set course if infractions continue beyond the first time. We will disable student network accounts and we do prohibit use of technology for students who don't learn their lesson. I can't quite figure out why this approach was not taken at Kutztown.

musicpyrite
Aug 11, 2005, 01:52 PM
A felony is simply ridiculous and goes too far.

Yes, the kids broke the rules, yes they should be punished. It does not matter how easy it is to break into something and get the admin password. What they did was wrong and they knew/know it (I hope). Take the computers away from them for the rest of high school and give them a 10 day suspension (or expulsion, if they persist).

School is a learning environment. Teach these kids by giving out the appropriate punishment. Charing them with a felony and letting them keep the computers accomplishes nothing and just stirs up trouble.

And fire the damn administrators. Security that lax is inexcusable.

nsutt22
Aug 11, 2005, 02:07 PM
Haha that story is to funny. What morons are running that IT department. No felony neccessary for crappy network security :)

ethernet76
Aug 11, 2005, 04:01 PM
And yet nobody ever thought to just confiscate the computer?

No. They were looking to make an example out of some kids and to get themselves in the news.

But did they under Pennsylvania law commit a crime? The police department and school district believe they did.

If I park my car in the street leaving the doors unlocked, it that an invitation to steal my belongings?

If I leave the front door to my house wide open, does that mean you have a right to snoop around because I didn't take security measures?

The courts have overwhelmingly said no.

What it comes down to is that they did force these notebooks upon theses students, but no one ever forced them to use that administrator password. No one ever forced them to open a remote connection to the administration's computer(s).

This case isn't about whether the school took the appropriate actions in stopping illegal behaviour. It's whether the students did something illegal.

shamino
Aug 11, 2005, 05:16 PM
But did they under Pennsylvania law commit a crime? The police department and school district believe they did.
...
This case isn't about whether the school took the appropriate actions in stopping illegal behaviour. It's whether the students did something illegal.
Did you ever break a law in your life? Does this mean you should be in prison right now?

The school was under no obligation to press charges. They deliberately chose the strongest punishment possible, despite the fact that a simple and obvious one (taking away the computer) would've solved the problem, and without ruining these kids' chances of ever working for a legitimate company.

cslewis
Aug 12, 2005, 11:12 AM
I go to Kutztown... the password was taped on the bottom of the computers, and teachers often said it aloud when typing. The password just so happened to be '50trexler'... once the kids figured it out, the whole school knew it within minutes.

MBHockey
Aug 12, 2005, 11:18 AM
Did you ever break a law in your life? Does this mean you should be in prison right now?

The school was under no obligation to press charges. They deliberately chose the strongest punishment possible, despite the fact that a simple and obvious one (taking away the computer) would've solved the problem, and without ruining these kids' chances of ever working for a legitimate company.

Yeah, exactly.

What pieces of crap.

Mechcozmo
Aug 12, 2005, 02:15 PM
I have to say... this is pathetic.

The kids are in the wrong, but so is the school. The school gave them the means to commit these crimes. The computers should be secured better than the kids charged with a lesser crime-- not a felony, but charged.

At my school the computer security is crap. They are giving me the means to essentially destroy the computer system. However I have not taken those opportunities. If I did, then I realize I could be charged. But I haven't and instead tried to fix the problems.

The kids shouldn't be charged with a felony but instead a misdemeanor. And the school should realize that kids are a hell of a lot smarter than they think. Give them the password and they will run with it.

The main thing that makes me think the kids did a MAJOR wrong? Using password cracking software. That's the main thing. The school did something (albeit little) but the cracking of the password is wrong.

solvs
Aug 12, 2005, 05:19 PM
If I park my car in the street leaving the doors unlocked, it that an invitation to steal my belongings?
But if you leave your car unlocked (which would be dumb anyway because someone might steal it), and someone takes off with it, even for a joyride just to bring it back later, you are without your car. That would be theft. Downloading music or software is piracy, because it costs money to create that product and you are violating the license by obtaining it for free. This is not theft, nothing was stolen. Some kids did some not so good stuff with a computer supplied to them by tax payer money and grants, they got in trouble for it, but the administration did nothing to fix the underlying problem, and instead overreacted. The punishment does not fit the crime, no matter what punishment came before it. It's just lazy (or ignorant) administration and a punishment that goes a little too far.

Not saying that what the kids did was ok, or that they shouldn't have been further punished beyond the slap on the wrists they were receiving… just agreeing with others here that you shouldn't swat a fly with a sledgehammer just because you missed with a rolled up newspaper. But I guess the fly should have know better. ;)

ethernet76
Aug 13, 2005, 01:10 AM
Did you ever break a law in your life? Does this mean you should be in prison right now?

The school was under no obligation to press charges. They deliberately chose the strongest punishment possible, despite the fact that a simple and obvious one (taking away the computer) would've solved the problem, and without ruining these kids' chances of ever working for a legitimate company.

I've broken laws, but I've never broken into something. Our school saw someone expelled for unlawful access to the computer system.

I don't think anyone here knows the full weight of what these kids are accused of doing. It's best left up to the prosecution to use what is called discretionary prosecution.

hitchhiker
Aug 13, 2005, 10:49 AM
It says there many disciplinary attempts made BEFORE taking the step of going to the police. IF that's the case, then I don't have a problem with taking action against the kids. An example: the school could have knowingly had a faulty lock on their file cabinet--that doesn't mean you just let kids get away with breaking into it. They do it a few times, get punished and warned... and they keep doing it. The kids ARE in the wrong.

AND the school is very stupid about the password. But that doesn't make the kids right to break rules. It IS acceptable to me to ask students to obey rules because they are rules and NOT just because it's impossible to break that rule. What are kids learning if they only things that are "wrong" are physically impossible anyway? There will always be rules that demand kids have some restraint and NOT do something just because it's physically possible.

I don't know how FAR I'd take it legally if I was the school (a felony? really depends on what they DID exactly once they were in) but I certainly think the parents are doing their own kids a disservice if they suggest that this behavior is "creative" and deserves a "reward." So is graffiti, etc.

That said...

"The administrative password that allowed students to reconfigure computers and obtain unrestricted Internet access was easy to obtain. A shortened version of the school's street address, the password was taped to the backs of the computers."

Ah ha! This PROVES that Macs are insecure! Schools should NOT be using Macs. Think of the children! Don't these schools know we're at war?!

(I bet some people really WILL walk away from this story thinking that.)


---I'd like to say that I think it is wrong for the kids to use the password to their advantage but at the same time there are some things that you do not know. The password was found out early in the school year, by one of the students on the Apple Core team, a special club the school gave to talented students. So, finding out the password, the person did the responsible thing and went to the principle. Asking for a whole new laptop so he could prove that it was not just his he could do it on he logged onto the administraters account. So what did the school do? Punishing him for his honesty instead of rewarding him for being honest and using him to make their system stronger, he was kicked off the Apple Core team, and the password remained the same. A genious move... right? So of course by now the word was around and people we're selling the password. So now we wonder why only 13 students? What about the own principle's son who was doing it? Or the german teacher's son? No, they are not part of the 13, but than again,why would they be? There are kids out there that are not part of the 13 that did the same thing as somebody in the 13 or even worse, so how did the 13 come to be picked? Was it a pick of the hat? Or was it that there is an uncanny similarity to these kids? Maybe it wasn't right what they did, but they did tell the school, and the school did nothing, and now because of their stupidity this is how the react because of being out-smarted by kids. I must say they even make me embarassed to be attending the school.

No, I am not one of the 13, but I am def. a proud supporter of them!
Go to www.cutusabreak.org

rendezvouscp
Aug 15, 2005, 04:37 PM
Talk about over reacting. As it's already been stated a billion times in this thread, a felony charge is way too much. I'm not going to repeat what everyone else said, but take a different point of view.

In my middle school, we had one guy taking care of all of the computers (and now I sincerely hope he isn't on these forums). His name was a five letter word, and one day a student figured out that the admin password to the school's computers was his last name backwards. The admin password didn't just log someone into the admin account, but you could log into anyone's account. That password was a lot of power.

I was one of the few Mac users in the school, or at least I knew what I was doing with a Mac. So, I took liberty to use the password, as did many other people because the word got out fairly quickly. Simply by saying this it seems that I would've done something malicious, but I didn't, and I don't think that others did either (despite having the power to change grades and changing the admin password to something else, effectively locking out the admin). Actually, I remember using it to log into another user's account to copy some things to my iPod (back when I was the only kid in school with an iPod :D). It was extremely useful then (the things I copied were some project files because the person was really sick and the project was due in a few days), and I didn't harm anyone by using it.

Was what I did wrong? Yes. Should anyone who used the password have been punished? Yes. Did some 50+ students need a felony charge?

No. I say suspension and fine, but I think that felony is not the way to go.
-Chase

AJ Muni
Aug 15, 2005, 05:56 PM
i would of made a run for it.......(with the ibook of course.. ;) )

cardiac dave
Aug 16, 2005, 02:19 PM
And I'm sure this agreement didn't say "we'll press felony criminal charges against you if you violate them."
Absolutely. And by analogy, the school should have taken away the computers and maybe suspended the students.
Nobody's saying they should get away with what they did, but the punishment must fit the crime.

Felony criminal charges are insane. Why don't you charge them with terrorism and have them executed while you're at it?

If I take my company car and run down a half-dozen people at a bus stop while drunk, I'm going to get charged.

Legally these kids were hacking... if kids these days are suppossed to be so smart, maybe they should be learning about the law. Ignorance is no excuse.

cardiac dave
Aug 16, 2005, 02:25 PM
Not saying that what the kids did was ok, or that they shouldn't have been further punished beyond the slap on the wrists they were receiving… just agreeing with others here that you shouldn't swat a fly with a sledgehammer just because you missed with a rolled up newspaper. But I guess the fly should have know better. ;)


So now these kids are suppossed to be dumber than the average housefly?

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. If they're smart enough to hack, then they're smart enough to understand it's wrong and should accept the consequences.

shamino
Aug 16, 2005, 05:51 PM
If I take my company car and run down a half-dozen people at a bus stop while drunk, I'm going to get charged.
There's a big difference between mass murder and downloading some dirty pictures from a web site.
Legally these kids were hacking... if kids these days are suppossed to be so smart, maybe they should be learning about the law. Ignorance is no excuse.
The legal system, and the people who press charges under it, are supposed to have a modicum of common sense.

Do you really want a system where everybody gets the maximum penalty for every criminal act they commit? Would you like a $500 fine and loss of license every time you break the speed limit? Would you like to be fired from your job for reading personal e-mail during business hours?

Or are you only this strident when talking about other people?

solvs
Aug 17, 2005, 02:07 AM
Ignorance of the law is no excuse. If they're smart enough to hack, then they're smart enough to understand it's wrong and should accept the consequences.
Thank you for missing my point entirely.