Maine middle school kids gain access to student passwords, 400 Apple iBooks temporarily confiscated

“When the state issues laptop computers to Maine students, it is with the expectation that the Apple iBooks will be used for academic pursuits and other legitimate purposes. No one wants to believe the sleek, white laptops will be used to root around in confidential school records and obtain students’ computer passwords. Regrettably, that is exactly what some students at Hodgkins Middle School in Augusta [Maine] have done,” The Kennebec Journal reports. “School officials discovered the high-tech hijinks Wednesday. They responded immediately and appropriately by confiscating every student’s and teacher’s laptop — about 400 iBooks — before anyone went home for the day. The computers will be returned after each password has been changed.”

“Students were able to gain access to a teacher’s list of students’ computer passwords. The students, who face possible discipline, then shared their newly acquired knowledge with classmates,” The Kennebec Journal reports. “At most, the student intruders might have been able to see other students’ homework. No one was able to change grades, hack into the school’s computer network or damage the system.”

Full article here.

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Related MacDailyNews article:
Maine looks to continue statewide 34,000 Apple iBooks in middle schools program – December 28, 2005

21 Comments

  1. Goes to show you how ingenious (ha) people can be. Make something “secret” and someone will want to know what it’s all about.

    As a punishment, the perpetrators ought to be given Dell laptops running Windows 98!

  2. “As a punishment, the perpetrators ought to be given Dell laptops running Windows 98!”

    Nah, give ’em old 386 creakers running Windows 3.0.

    Or just give their iBooks back with the networking physically disabled.

    There are ways of dealing with punks…

  3. “When the state issues laptop computers to Maine students, it is with the expectation that the Apple iBooks will be used for academic pursuits and other legitimate purposes.”

    Weren’t these adults ever kids themselves? Do you really expect that rambunctious teenagers aren’t going to dabble in mischief? It seems as if the teacher presented them with a golden opportunity and they took advantage of it, surprise, surprise.

  4. Beryl,

    (Do you mind if I call you Beryl? Beryllium is so…formal.)

    I am more than willing to bet cash money that this was primarily a “wetware” failure. The person responsible for allowing the breach should be disciplined somehow (guess who has to spend the weekend fetching coffee for the network geeks while they fix everything? That would be appropriate, I think.)

    But…school is where kids learn to “interface” with the wider world and society. It’s time for them to learn that just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it. In the real world doing something like this can get you fired or arrested (if it was somebody else’s network), which is a lot more severe than anything that is going to happen to them here.

    Better they learn to stay out of networks that they don’t belong to now before they end up sharing a cell with Bubba.

  5. …and the principal at the school where I teach has the password to his laptop sitting next to his laptop’s trackpad, on a sticky note! To make matters worse, his laptop is a Dell running XP Home!

    Talk about poor security! :~)

  6. From the Butterfly Chronicles:

    Student: “Yeeeesssss, Sen-Say, yeeeeessssss…..”

    Teacher: “Oh, young Butterfly, when will you ever learn to not meddle around in other’s business….”

    Student: “Yeeessss, Sen-Say, yeeeessss, I know it was wrong to snoop out your lovely and secretive Haiku’s, but they were laying out in plain site, Sen-Say…”

    Teacher: “Remember what Confucious say, “Man with hole in pocket feel cock-y all day!”

    Student: “Yeeeessss, I remember….”

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