Teenage Hacker Used Phishing Scam to Change Grades

May 15, 2018 | Ryan


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A 16 year old student named David Rotaro of Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, California has been arrested on 14 felony counts for hacking into his school district’s computer system.

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He did this by using a popular hacking technique called phishing. Phishing attacks are defined as “a type of social engineering attack often used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers. It occurs when an attacker, masquerading as a trusted entity, dupes a victim into opening an email, instant message, or text message.”

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He first created a fake website, that looked exactly like the school’s, from which he reached out to a number of teachers trying to trick them into revealing their login info to sign in. And it worked. After receiving the information he was looking for he used it to access the Mount Diablo Unified School District IT network. Once he got in he changed around a dozen student’s grades, including his own. When the school district discovered they’d been hacked, they notified the police, who then reached out to the United States Secret Service, as well as a Contra Costa Country cybercrime task force. Together the organizations tracked down the IP address used in the scam, which led them to the emails that then sent them directly to the student’s home address.

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When they arrived, with the assistance of an electronics-sniffin K9 police dog, they located evidence of the crime hidden on a flash drive that he had stashed in a box of tissue. He was then arrested, suspended, and the investigation is still open. Check out the video below to see a report on the crime and an interview with the student…

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