Kutztown Hackers use ibooks to turn the tables on administra...

Discussion in 'MacBytes.com News Discussion' started by MacBytes, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. macrumors bot

    Jul 5, 2003
  2. macrumors 68040


    Oct 4, 2003
    New York
    Haha, that's awesome.

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


    May 23, 2004
    Minnetonka, MN USA
    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:
  4. macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    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.)
  5. macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    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.

  6. macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2003
    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.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2002
    sunny san diego
    [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:
  8. macrumors 68020


    Nov 8, 2003
    New Zealand
    "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."


    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:
  9. macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Or just take the [bleeping] piece of tape away :D
  10. macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    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. ;)
  11. macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    Oneida, NY
  12. macrumors regular

    cardiac dave

    Jun 23, 2005
    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:
  13. macrumors 68000

    Aug 5, 2005
    I hope our school admin doesn't read this. He might get ideas...
  14. macrumors 68040


    Jan 7, 2004
    Purcellville, VA
    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.
  15. macrumors 68040


    Jan 7, 2004
    Purcellville, VA
    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?
  16. macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2003
    Rehoboth Beach, De
    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.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2003
    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.
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 1, 2003
    Scranton, PA
    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.
  19. macrumors 68040


    Jan 7, 2004
    Purcellville, VA
    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.
  20. macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2003
    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.
  21. macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Cape Cod
    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.
  22. macrumors regular


    May 5, 2005
    Haha that story is to funny. What morons are running that IT department. No felony neccessary for crappy network security :)
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2003
    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.
  24. macrumors 68040


    Jan 7, 2004
    Purcellville, VA
    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.
  25. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2004
    40º27.8''N, 75º42.8''W
    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.

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