MHS database breached by student
A student database of personal and academic information at Mammoth High School was compromised by a student earlier this month, resulting in the altering of grades and attendance records, according to Mammoth Unified School District Superintendent Lois Klein. The same system was also compromised in May, 2012. Klein did not say how the student got into the system in the most recent breach.
Klein said once the school became aware of the situation, the system was shut down. All teachers and staff will have new, complex passwords and Klein said the District is making sure all operating systems have the latest protection software, district-wide.
She said she considers the student hacker to be a thief.
Some students were suspended for their involvement. Mono County District Attorney Tim Kendall said on Thursday, May 25 that the investigation is ongoing and that his office had not yet filed charges.
A letter from MHS sent to parents on May 18 states that the school confiscated the device that is believed to have been used to access the system. It doesn’t specify what the device is. There are cheap devices for sale on the internet such as the “keystroke logger,” about $60, that can hold up to 32 pages of text that would likely contain passwords, according to a sales pitch on hackershomepage.com.
Aeries Systems, a software and data management system that contains the personal and academic information of individual students, was the system that was accessed by the hacker, according to MUSD.
Richard Lloyd, Vice President of Aeries Software, said the services it provides its clients are confidential.
Klein did not divulge how many students were suspended for one day for being involved. She did confirm that there was no evidence to suggest students paid the perpetrator to change their grades. She did not say what disciplinary action the perpetrator will face.
Students interviewed for this story called the hacker both a genius and a jerk. One student who wished to remain anonymous called him “Robin Hood,” taking from the rich and giving to the poor, but said the perpetrator was still a jerk.