Two New Jersey high school students may earn an A for innovation, but their scheme to hack into the school’s Wi-Fi and jam it to avoid taking tests isn’t going over so well with police.
The Secaucus High School freshmen were arrested for allegedly using an app or computer program to jam their school’s network, WBRZ reported. The school’s curriculum is web-based, so the students’ actions disrupted daily assignments and prevented teachers from giving tests, the report noted.
Police were reportedly tipped off to the scheme and investigated, leading them to the two boys. Investigators said the two used their computer expertise to take down the Wi-Fi network when they had work they didn’t want to complete and even took requests from other students to take it down as well.
The school’s superintendent said later in the week that the Wi-Fi had been restored and was fully operational.
The odd nature of the story garnered viral interest, with many sharing the story on social media and some even praising the students for their innovative — albeit misguided — attempt to avoid work and help fellow students do the same.
This is not the first time that a high school student has gotten some national attention for their hacking abilities. In 2016, an 18-year-old named David Dworken used his computer skills to hack into the Pentagon and find vulnerabilities in the U.S. Department of Defense website.
Unlike the New Jersey students, this intrusion was welcomed. As Reuters reported, the teen was part of a group of more than 1,400 participants who took part in a “Hack the Pentagon” pilot project that encouraged people to try to find bugs in the site.
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) April 2, 2019
“We know that state-sponsored actors and black-hat hackers want to challenge and exploit our networks… what we didn’t fully appreciate before this pilot was how many white hat hackers there are who want to make a difference,” a government spokesperson said.
The Department of Defense even offered reward money for people who could uncover and identify new bugs, though Dworken didn’t end up taking home any of the bounty because the vulnerabilities he discovered had already been reported. But as one of the youngest participants, Dworken was instead rewarded with some national attention and praise from other computer experts.
Police in New Jersey did not release the names of the high school students accused of taking down their school’s Wi-Fi so they could avoid taking tests.