Cyber crime and hacking are nothing new. In fact, reports about the hacking of the systems of major retailers, entertainment companies, and even the United States government have been a near weekly occurrence. The cyber crime stories are united by the fact that the perpetrators are rarely caught, but that’s finally changed.
Domanik Green, 14, is an eighth-grader at Paul Smith Middle School in Holiday, Florida, and he’s been charged with a felony. Specifically, an offense against a computer system and unauthorized access.
By Green’s own admission, he observed a teacher entering his password into a school computer. When the computer was unattended, Green used the password to access the computer and change the desktop wallpaper to a photograph of two men kissing.
It may be tempting to write the entire thing off as a teenage prank, but the Pasco County sheriff’s department is calling it a cyber crime.
One issue that led to the charges is the computer which Green accessed. In hacking the school computer, Green gained access to standardized test questions. The files were encrypted and authorities say Green did not access or change the files, but that fact hasn’t bought Domanik Green any goodwill with the Pasco County sheriff.
When asked about Green, Sheriff Chris Nocco said, “Even though some might say this is just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done.”
According to Slate, Green isn’t the only student at Paul Smith Middle School who knows the network password. Reportedly, the password is a last name, and students use it often to video chat.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Green accessed the computer with the encrypted standardized test files and logged out when he realized it didn’t have a camera. He logged onto a different computer, where he changed the desktop background.
While both Green and his mother admit that he was wrong, his mother, Eileen Foster, also believes that it shouldn’t be so easy for students to access the school’s system.
When the incident was discovered, Green received a 10-day suspension from school. Other students were punished too, but only Green was arrested because his infraction was considered more severe.
Green’s story is being treated as a cautionary tale for other would-be hackers by the Pasco sheriff’s department, but it’s generating considerable derision on the internet.
@Gawker And had the little boy put a thumb tack in the teachers chair it’s certain he would face attempted murder charges.
— Information Security (@DEFCON_2015) April 10, 2015
Did the Pasco county sheriff’s department go too far?
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