[ISN] School hacker won't be expelled

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Mar 06 2003 - 03:02:08 PST

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    March 5, 2003 
    TURLOCK -- High school trustees voted 3-1 Tuesday night not to expel a
    student accused of breaking into the Turlock School Districts computer
    The student, Turlock High School senior Robert Lee, will be allowed to
    stay through graduation in June as long as he does not use district
    computers and meets other conditions.
    Lee, 17, had claimed that he broke into the system only to show his
    computer teacher and the network administrator that it was vulnerable
    to hacking, investigators said.
    District administrators at first recommended that trustees expel Lee,
    but they relented after a meeting last week with the student's
    "It's a win-win situation, I think, on both sides," said Gil Ogden,
    coordinator of pupil services for the district, after Tuesday's vote
    by the board of the Turlock Joint Union High School District.
    Neither Lee nor his attorney, Robert Forkner, was present for the
    vote, which was taken in open session after a closed hearing.
    Trustees Charles Crivelli, Debbie Erlenbusch and Stephen Smith voted
    to keep Lee in school. Trustee John Sims voted no because he disagreed
    with some of the con- ditions, but he said he could not discuss them
    in public. Trustee Marianne Mayhew excused herself from the vote.
    Lee broke into the system through a campus terminal after the network
    administrator insisted that this could not be done, an investigator
    with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department said last month.
    Lee obtained an encrypted file containing user names and passwords for
    the districts' 1,200 employees, as well as for students using the
    system, the investigator said. Lee then deciphered the file on a home
    computer and showed it to his teacher to prove that the network needed
    better security, the investigator said.
    Although there was no finding that Lee took or altered personnel data
    or grade records, district officials told employees to guard against
    identity theft, which could lead to unauthorized use of credit cards
    or bank accounts.
    Lee was suspended and arrested in early February. Under the agreement,
    he returned to school Friday and district and law enforcement
    officials will seek to dismiss the criminal case. Lee also must write
    a letter of apology and not talk to the media about the matter.
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