Pair Of 14-Year-Olds Eventually Arrested, But Not Before Making Sure That No Tests Or Lessons Requiring Internet Could Be Given

SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A hacking scandal has rocked a New Jersey school district.

Two tech-savvy teenagers are accused of disabling their high school’s Wi-Fi system. Police said they did it to get out of tests, but now they’re facing charges.

Police are calling what happened at Secaucus High School illegal, but also ingenious.

They said two 14-year-old boys — ninth graders — were arrested last Thursday for hacking into the school’s Wi-Fi, making it impossible for teachers to give any tests or teach any lessons that relied on the internet.

It was all the talk at the school Tuesday.

Police say two freshmen hacked the Wi-Fi system inside Secaucus High School, causing all kinds of problems for teachers. (Photo: CBS2)

“I couldn’t access the internet. I couldn’t really do any work. My teachers were annoyed. We couldn’t take tests, couldn’t take notes,” freshman Athana Siachandris told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport.

Siachandris said she knows the two student who did it.

“I saw them and I asked them about it and they just … they thought it was funny because they didn’t want to go to school,” Siachandris said.

Police said it happened over several diverse days in March.

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Secaucus School Superintendent Jennifer Montesano confirmed the story in a statement, saying, “Our Wi-Fi connection was compromised over the past week. We have determined that two students may have been involved in the disruption of our system.”

The question, of course, is how did the two kids do it? Police told Rapoport the students used a private company to hack in and disable the schools Wi-Fi.

“It’s possible that they used an app or paid somebody online to do this for them,” CNET security reporter Alfred Ng said. “There are services like this available online.

“Basically, since so much data and signals to the school’s Wi-Fi network that it can’t handle all this information and basically shuts down or jams,” Ng added.

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The school said the system is back up and running. The students were charged with computer criminal activity and conspiracy to commit computer criminal activity.

“I don’t think it’s right in any circumstance, but clearly they have some future in computer science or IT development,” student Abagail Williams said.

The two students were eventually released to their parents. There was no immediate word on how they got caught.

CBS2 has yet to hear what kind of discipline the students will face in school.

Comments (22)
  1. LMAO. They’re not “geniuses”. The cops said they paid a company to do it for them. Clearly they’re just lazy rich kids.

  2. fasterfarther2016 says:

    These kids aren’t “geniuses”. The police said they hired a company. So clearly rich little brats is all they are. Anyone with money can pay people to do this for them.

  3. Kevin Rogers says:

    This can go two ways for these kids, the first being is they’re going to get locked up, and fined heavily, and be denied the ability to use computers for many years after they’re out of jail, and the second, less likely way this will turn out, is if these kids used some ingenious way to hack the wifi, the NSA/CIA may, and should, hire these kids. I’m guessing they’ll be collecting social security before they touch another computer.

  4. Mustafa Sensayuma says:

    Perhaps the school district could let go a diversity counselor and hire three good IT techs for the same money.

  5. Mike Arvand says:

    get that kid working on recovering the hillary emails!

  6. Martin Miller says:

    maybe the teachers shouldn’t rely completed on “the interweb…”

    1. Carl Mayo says:

      naled it !

  7. Paul Roberts says:

    Hacking a Wi-Fi – Depends on the Wi-Fi – 1. The problem most likely happened because they did not change that default password for the router.
    2. Any PC’s the students use should have security rights limiters on them so they have no rights to do the hacking.(No cmd) No rights to install third party software on school PC’s.
    3. The school district needs to look a lot further than the students to see how they hacked it. Most likely the Wi-fi was not setup properly in the first place.
    4. With the right tools Wi-fi can still be hacked but it takes time to do it and the security will need to allow that if done on a school PC. It also takes lot of knowledge to break into a Cisco or other brand name product.
    A, Limit the security rights on school PC’s
    B. fine the heck $$$$ out of the Students parents so the kid will not want to try it again.

    1. You are correct, of course. But the article is not very clear on the type of attack. It states they hacked the Wi-Fi. But to the less tech savvy, that could mean the wireless connection, the router connection, or the Internet connection. Since the article mentioned “sending large amounts of data into the stream”, I suspect they DDOS’d the system from the outside.

      This would, of course, prevent and slow down services for the teachers from any attempts to access their online tests and forms.

  8. Tracey Shannon says:

    Was it the PAARC test? If so that would be great!

  9. Charles Edward Smith says:

    “CBS2 has yet to hear what kind of discipline the students will face in school.” Because arresting the kids over a harmless prank wasn’t punishment enough. This should have been a few weeks of detention and maybe some light janatorial duties. Instead they had the kids arrested. It only makes sense to punish them MORE if the entire goal is to grind all the free spirit out of the kids and turn them into mindless drones.

    oh, wait. Right then. Carry on.

  10. Christine Holte Stout says:

    Why does teaching even require a computer, much less the internet? The students in this school are being left incredibly handicapped if they can’t learn from books and hands-on activities.

    1. Danny F. Quest says:

      What is the point of even having teachers if the entire lesson plan is coming from the internet anyways ?

  11. Dave Gilson says:

    “Police said it happened over several diverse days in March.”

    Diverse: showing a great deal of variety; very different. That word does not work here.

  12. Sean A Foltz says:

    This is what happens when the password to your system is “Password.”

  13. Dwain Meyer says:

    Give them AP credits in computer science.

  14. Nips Melloy says:

    The kids aren’t ingenious, the administrators and teachers are incredibly stupid

  15. So many things here that are sickening. Teachers can’t teach without internet? Lazy. School tech guy couldn’t figure it out immediately? Dumb. It’s the schools job to encourage this behavior, challenge these kids, push them and stay one step ahead it’s your job to defend YOUR internet. My computers are hard wired, wifi is unreliable. Dumb school. This is why we have to import our tech sector from asia! So disappointing how tech stupid this country is, then watch them discipline those that aren’t. But hey! They can tell you how many times a bouncy ball made it through the circle last night for team blue. Govt……..home of the bottom of the barrel, raising your children for you.

    1. Jeff West says:

      Totally agree. This just goes to show how incredibly dependent they (and everyone else) is on the Internet and Wi-Fi. Not having a backup plan to operate offline is ridiculous.

  16. Jim Heimbach says:

    That would be, ““Basically, SENDS so much data and signals to the school’s Wi-Fi network that it can’t handle all this information and basically shuts down or jams,” Ng added.

    not “since”

  17. We had tests produced on mimeograph machines.
    Ah, the smell.

  18. Charlie Harper says:

    Those kids are on their way to becoming urban legends.

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