Prez Busted for Hacking

High school class officer arrested for changing grades of 19 students

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

December 14, 2006

2 Min Read

Move over, Ferris Bueller. The senior class president is a better hacker than you are.

According to yesterday's South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Ryan Shrouder, president of Cooper City High School's senior class, was taken to jail from school and charged with two counts of computer crime with intent to defraud, a second-degree felony. He was released from jail on bail, has been suspended from school, and will be recommended for expulsion, said Joe Melita, head of the Broward County School District's investigative unit.

Shrouder, 18, serves as the alternate student advisor to the Broward School Board. He often sits in on board meetings and was issued a school district laptop computer, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Sheriff's Office investigators say Shrouder took advantage of that access and used an employee password to access the district's network and change the grades of 19 students. It's unclear whether authorities think he changed his own grades.

Shrouder had been elected leader of his sophomore, junior, and senior classes at Cooper City High and recently was voted "most likely to be president" of the United States.

The hack definitely wasn't accidental. Advisors to the School Board are given laptops that have access to the district network for email, but they don't have the security clearance to log into the application that manages grades, officials said. A police report indicates that several witnesses saw Shrouder making the changes or heard him say he had done so.

So what have we learned from this, class? That today's kids are going to hell in a handbasket? That hacking begins in the bosom of youth? That tomorrow's White House might be a haven for rootkits and Red Bull?

The mainstream press might try all of those angles, but here at Dark Reading, we know better. The problem in this case isn't the kid at all. It's the security admin that gave him a laptop for email, but failed to secure or remove avenues for accessing all types of unauthorized applications. Give the kid a properly configured, locked-down machine, and he's still on his way to the White House.

Or, at least, to the CIA.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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