Two 14-year old 9th graders have been arrested by the police for disrupting the WiFi system of their school, Secaucus High School, Hudson County in March. According to reports, the students used an especially designed app to make the connection so overloaded with traffic that it became difficult for the teachers to upload test results online.
“Our Wi-Fi connection was compromised over the past week. We have conducted an investigation and at the present time, we have determined that two students may have been involved in the disruption of our system. The system has been restored and is now fully operational,” read the school’s official statement after the system was brought down.
The students claim that they did so to avoid giving tests and doing school work and by bringing down the WiFi signals of their school’s network they made sure that the curriculum couldn’t be accessed online. The connection remained down for many days due to which many students couldn’t be tutored since most of the curriculum was based online and students are required to do their school work online as well. The yet unidentified boys used the app to block the connection multiple times after which the school administrators contacted the police to investigate the matter.
One of the affected students, a 10th grader Diego, stated that:
“One day we were supposed to be doing work on our Chromebooks, but we had no activity whatsoever to do in class because the WiFi shutdown. It interrupted the whole class, unfortunately.”
Another student, Alyandra, believes that the boys were requested by other students to block or shut down the school’s WiFi on specific days.
“He was doing it to get out of tests and stuff like that. [One of the boys] was doing it also for [his friend], so she wouldn’t have to take a test during the class. It was a big prank, really,” explained Alyandra.
However, it is not clear whether the students were doing it for free or demanded a fee for their services.
Reportedly, the students used a computer program to carry out a denial of service attack on the WiFi equipment of their school so that it becomes too congested to use. The internet breakdown occurred last week and investigations were launched on Saturday after the school authorities contacted the police.
In its report, NJ.com explained what might have happened last week to cause the entire wireless network to become inaccessible:
“Students interviewed Monday afternoon believe the boys used a WiFi interrupter program, or an app, to send so much traffic to the routers that the system would crash, which ultimately caused connection failures when students tried to log on, do class work or take exams on their computers.”
Secaucus Police Department stated that the two boys will be charged with computer criminal activity and conspiring to conduct computer criminal activity but since they are both juveniles, therefore, their names won’t be released.
According to the Secaucus Police Department, the two students are being charged with computer criminal activity and conspiracy to commit computer criminal activity.
This, however, is not the first time when students have attempted to target their institution’s cyberinfrastructure. Previously, a Tenafly High School student from Bergen County, New Jersey, was caught hacking school’s computer system to alter grades and overall GPA.
In another incident, a senior female student (18-year old Michaela Gabriella King) at Franklin Regional High School was charged for carrying out a series of DDoS attacks on not one or two but more than 12 local school districts.