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Felony Charges For H.S. Hacking 824

Posted by Zonk
from the barely-even-hacking dept.
jayrtfm writes "Last year the Kurtztown Area High School approved a program which gave every student an iBook. Now 13 students face felony charges for violating the district's usage policy." From the article: "Shrawder said the secret password '50Trexler,' was widely-known among the student body and distributed early in the school year. It allowed between 80 and 100 students to reconfigure their laptops, he said. The more computer-savvy students began to disable the administrations' ability to spy on the students' computer use. For others, it became a game, trying to outsmart the administration and compete with fellow students who held the secret, Shrawder said."
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Felony Charges For H.S. Hacking

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Friday June 24, 2005 @09:45PM (#12906764)
    From the FAQ... Will students be able to email, chat, and play games on their laptops? Chat, IM, games, and email software will be removed from all computers. Student use of email, chatting, IM, and game playing is a direct violation of the KASD computer policy. Students who violate the computer policy will be disciplined. These were school-owned laptops for approved uses only, and with a pretty tight leash on what could be installed.
  • by yrogerg (858571) on Friday June 24, 2005 @09:47PM (#12906775)
    In my high school in the late 80's we got a new network and the default password for all students and teachers was "IBM". 5 bonus points to whoever guesses which company set up the network. At the time it wasn't a big deal to mess up the network, it was considered buggy. Now you get lynched.
  • Good answer (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2005 @09:53PM (#12906815)
    Q: What about computer viruses?

    A: A virus that is written for the Windows Operating System (Win98, 2000, XP) cannot infect the Macintosh Operating system.

    Hey! Neat! But um, what about computer viruses?
  • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) on Friday June 24, 2005 @10:05PM (#12906885) Homepage
    Charged but not convicted I'd assume.

    Felons are forbidden by law from:

    Voting (in many states. In 14, including mine, Nevada, one is forever forbidden from voting. In Florida, another such state, I believe it is case law that a juvenile convicted of a felony loses the right the vote before he or she gains it - he or she is barred by law from ever gaining the right to vote - cruel, unusual and unconstitutional but still considered the law).
    Holding office
    Working in anyway for the government, local, state or Federal. If you run a company of your own and are a felon - your company is ineligible to bid on any project or supply any goods or services.
    Owning a gun - 10 year sentence if one even tries to. 18 USC 922(g) makes it illegal and 18 USC 924(a)(2) sets the penalty.
    Being bonded
    Getting a good job - anyone that hires a felon can have a judgement for monetary damages against them for "negligent hiring" - the courts will then take possibly all their assets and garishee their wages for life if the judgement is big enough - yeah the person would have to harm someone - but what employer will hire a felon knowing the courts could de facto bankrupt them for life if the person who committed a (possibly minor) (possibly as a juvenile) felony kills or rapes someone.
    Keeping a job - "negligent retention" law prescribes the above for failing to fire a felon.
    Travel - Canada PROHIBITS felons from entering - and they are supposed to be a reasonable country. Heck, Canada forbids DUI offenders from entering. Heck, George W. Bush, sitting President of the US, is technically barred for that. Not that they'd ever enforce it in his case. (Yes, Bush's was a misdemeanor - but Canada still bars people for it, perhaps Canada was a bad example, perhaps Bush was a bad example because someone might start an off topic Bush sucks/Bush rules flamewar)
    In Utah - they are forbidden from working in any operational capacity for a Certificate Authority - this will mean if a felon owns a company it can't be a CA.

    I might be wrong - I hope I am - but I fear my list is incomplete, not incorrect.

  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Friday June 24, 2005 @10:14PM (#12906945)
    What is it that causes legal-types to completely lose their marbles whenever anything high-tech happens?

    They don't know how to parlay the common sense they use in the real world to a virtual realm with which they are unfamiliar.

    Plus, the professions they are in are usually dominated by "guardian" personality types. [keirsey.com] Such people tend to be comfortable with rigid interpretations of language and law, so if something falls under the rubric of "hacking" they will pigeonhole it as one specific type of behavior. Their reaction to it is determined not by the details of the behavior itself, which they may or may not understand, but the pigeonhole they have classified it into. Hacking is hacking. Hence the old saying that "the law is an ass."

    When Mitnick was arrested the cops wouldn't let him have a phone. They thought he could launch nuclear missles by whistling into a phone at specific frequencies.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday June 24, 2005 @10:25PM (#12907006) Homepage
    You probably aren't in school anymore. Most usage policies that I've seen explicitly state something along the lines of 'criminal computer damage' or 'charges may be filed'.

    You apparently didn't read the District's Usage Policy. In fact, I know you didn't or you wouldn't have questioned me. Let me help you:

    From their FAQ [kasd.org] which was linked in the Slashdot blurb.

    Will students be able to install software on the laptop?
    No, students installing software on school owned computers is a direct violation of the KASD Computer Policy. Students who violate the policy will be disciplined. All of the software necessary to integrate the laptop technology into the curriculum will be installed when the laptop is issued to the student. Security monitoring software will be used on all of the computers to assure that software is not loaded on the laptops. See the "Software" webpage in regards to the software installed on each laptop.

    Will students be able to email, chat, and play games on their laptops?
    Chat, IM, games, and email software will be removed from all computers. Student use of email, chatting, IM, and game playing is a direct violation of the KASD computer policy. Students who violate the computer policy will be disciplined.

    What will the school do to help prevent students from going to inappropriate sites?
    The KASD has a software/hardware product which is designed to help monitor all Internet sites that students attempt to access. This software/hardware blocks inappropriate sites and also logs a history of every site that each user opens. Students who attempt to find inappropriate sites will be disciplined. The current KASD content filter meets CIPA guidelines.


    Just to be sure that I didn't miss anything I read it twice. Nothing in there about filing criminal charges.

    Obviously I don't need to be in school anymore as I can read *and* comprehend.
  • 18 Pa.C.S.A. 7615 (Score:5, Informative)

    by danoatvulaw (625376) on Friday June 24, 2005 @10:53PM (#12907157)
    Just for everyone's information, here's the statute they might be prosecuted under. According to the sentencing provision, a third degree felony carries a maximum penalty of up to 7 years imprisonment (18 Pa.C.S.A. 1103) and a max $15,000 fine (18 Pa.C.S.A. 1101).

    (a) Offense defined. A person commits the offense of computer trespass if he knowingly and without authority or in excess of given authority uses a computer or computer network with the intent to:

    (1) temporarily or permanently remove computer data, computer programs or computer software from a computer or computer network;
    (2) cause a computer to malfunction, regardless of the amount of time the malfunction persists;
    (3) alter or erase any computer data, computer programs or computer software;
    (4) effect the creation or alteration of a financial instrument or of an electronic transfer of funds; or
    (5) cause physical injury to the property of another.

    (b) Grading.--An offense under this section shall constitute a felony of the third degree.
  • by zakezuke (229119) on Friday June 24, 2005 @11:09PM (#12907228)
    And so to claim a felony, they're claiming that some law was broken. Why can't anyone describe that law?

    TFA isn't all that clear and pacode.com is none too helpful. they only stated "Computer Trespass" PA criminal code section 7615, a Third degree felony.

    PA Title 18, Chapter 76: Computer Offenses
    "Computer Trespass" PA criminal code section 7615, a Third degree felony.

    (a) Offense defined.--A person commits the offense of computer trespass if he knowingly and without authority or in excess of given authority uses a computer or computer network with the intent to:

    (1) temporarily or permanently remove computer data, computer programs or computer software from a computer or computer network;

    (2) cause a computer to malfunction, regardless of the amount of time the malfunction persists;

    (3) alter or erase any computer data, computer programs or computer software;

    (4) effect the creation or alteration of a financial instrument or of an electronic transfer of funds; or

    (5) cause physical injury to the property of another.

    (b) Grading.--An offense under this section shall constitute a felony of the third degree
    --http://www.wcupa.edu/infoservices/polici es/pa_ti tle_18_chapter_76.htm [wcupa.edu]

    Also see " Unlawful Use of Computer"
    3933 (a)(1) F3 GRAVITY SCORE 5 PRIOR RECORD POINTS 1
    3933 (a)(2)(3) M1 GRAVITY SCORE 3 PRIOR RECORD POINTS m --http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/204/chapter303 /s303.15.html [pacode.com]

    And as the PAcode site is now slashdoted... I takeit someone else posted this info.

  • by BinaryOpty (736955) on Friday June 24, 2005 @11:11PM (#12907233)
  • by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Friday June 24, 2005 @11:56PM (#12907421)
    ...it's not illegal or even immoral.

    They make us and our parents sign an acceptable use policy or somesuch saying that we won't so much as breathe on their routers after eating onions. I think this is enforceable as a contract since my parents signed it and the entire minor-immunity thing doesn't apply to them.

    you should absolutely not admit to anyone what you've done without the counsel of a lawyer.

    In one particular case a month or two ago, it didn't help much: I used the unblocked Windows file sharing to help a user edit her files from outside the computer lab. Of course she went to the teacher's classroom and explained what we did well before I got there (I had thought the teacher wouldn't mind), so pleading the fifth wasn't a viable option.
  • KNOPPIX!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by E8086 (698978) on Saturday June 25, 2005 @01:13AM (#12907657)
    ...or the MAC equivalent, as long as you don't modify data on the hdd it should be very close to completely undetectable, just hold C during boot and you're set.
  • by ComputerSlicer23 (516509) on Saturday June 25, 2005 @01:47AM (#12907748)
    Quick lesson in how the law works.

    You can't commit a felony by breaking a contract. You can be found in breach of contract in a civil court for breaking a contract. You go to court to have a them help figure out what the restitution for failure to comply with the contract. A lot of the times, the penalites are spelled out in the contract.

    So, being charged with a felony has absolutely nothing to do with any type of paperwork you or your parents signed. In order to be charged with a crime, you have to violate a criminal law.

    There are so many silly laws about computers, that I won't be shocked to find out that there is some law that could be used against someone who isn't supposed to gains administrative access to a computer.

    Kirby

  • by jwdb (526327) on Saturday June 25, 2005 @04:52AM (#12908122)
    and HAD infact hacked the administrative network.

    Sorry, but they hadn't. The article clearly stated that although they had the administrator password and had removed the access restrictions on their own computer, at no time was the central server in danger.

    Jw
  • by ibennetch (521581) <bennetch@gma i l . c om> on Saturday June 25, 2005 @08:33AM (#12908610) Journal
    Er, that should be "Kutztown" in the article title. Located in beautiful east-central Pennsylvania [google.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 25, 2005 @03:59PM (#12910543)
    A few years ago (2002), I was convicted of robbery(long story, involving drugs, many regrets). Today I'm the store manager at a locally owned PC Repair shop. The trick is to get the job and start working before they know you are a felon, ALWAYS answer "no" to the felony question. You'll find that most places say that they check, but in fact they don't, as it costs money for a background check and checking every applicant would cost a fortune. You will get some that do check and you're just out of luck there, but it beats having them throw your app away immediately when they see that you have a conviction. Don't buy that BS about "not necessarily barring you from employment"--a yes on the felony question is nearly a guarantee that your app will be thrown out. Large corporations WILL check your background, however, so stay clear of those (small shops are nicer places to work anyway).
    Another thing you might consider is moving out of state and removing from your resume any reference to the state where you have your conviction. This works because most places don't want to shell out the cash for a national check, so they just run state checks for the states listed in your resume (past employment, previous addresses, etc...).
    Get a degree, or if you have one, get another one. You want to have something to show that you aren't just some street thug, but someone who made a mistake and have made something better of yourself in the time since then.
    Finally, if you have been working a job and the felony comes up, BE HONEST. My current employer got new insurance that required national checks for all employees, and up came my robbery. He asked me why I had lied on my application, and I told him point blank--I was sorry for lying to him, but he wouldn't have hired me otherwise.
    By this point he was already impressed with my skills and work ethic, and the fact that his profits had doubled since I started working there, He decided to go with another insurance company rather than fire me.

    Oh, and that stuff about the army wiping your record is Bullshit. Don't believe anything a recruiter tells you.
  • by metamatic (202216) on Saturday June 25, 2005 @06:27PM (#12911168) Homepage Journal
    Well, I have a similar story that I can vouch for as true...

    Using BBC Micro computers attached to an Amcom E-net, I discovered that it was possible to write just a few more bytes than I supposedly had allocated to me as space. My guess is that there was some sort of K=1000 vs K=1024 bug between the client and server. The interesting thing was that the free space reported for my user area on the server then wrapped around to a very large 4-byte integer (or a negative integer which was reported as a large positive one).

    I was naturally curious as to whether I really now had that much disk space, so I decided to write a quick program to create a very large disk file. I ran it, and it verified that yes, I did indeed now have megabytes of disk space. (This was back in the days when a floppy disk held 100K.)

    So, I deleted the file, cleaned up my disk space, and thought no more of it.

    The next day I heard that the next few users' disk areas on the server had mysteriously been overwritten with random junk...

    So the only major differences between my story and the one you find implausible are (a) it was a server writing directly to disk without bounds checking because of a bug; and (b) I wrote junk to the file rather than digits of pi.

    Even as late as the 80s it wasn't all that uncommon for PC software to write directly to the hard disk for speed reasons. So I rate the original story "plausible".
  • by stfvon007 (632997) <enigmar007.yahoo@com> on Saturday June 25, 2005 @08:07PM (#12911546) Journal
    Actually they matched the record of who had logged into the online class materials during the same class time from that machine. (the computers didnt require a login, but the online class materials did)
  • by mollymoo (202721) on Saturday June 25, 2005 @09:00PM (#12911692) Journal
    I though it may not be BS. People did do stuff kind of, almost, like that 15+ years ago. But then I saw the little twerp's web page. He's 16. So they must have been using a proper OS, not a BBC Micro with a 5MB hard drive. Hmm, writing your own device drivers when you're 13, 'new to programming' and can't spot an infinite loop? Bullshit.

    You should check out the bullshitter's web page [freeshell.org], make sure you follow the link to his 'myspace' to see just how cool he is. If you're too lazy here are some choice quotes:

    I'm a ninja with 1337 skills. I hate hippies and liberals, except for the liberals I don't hate. Even though things like this (MySpace) are for moderately faggy people, I was persuaded to create one despite my lack of faggy-ness.

    I am very picky when it comes to girls.

    Status: Single

    Your Fears: that i'll end up sucking at life

    Ah well, I guess he's still got time...

The ideal voice for radio may be defined as showing no substance, no sex, no owner, and a message of importance for every housewife. -- Harry V. Wade

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