Sure to be voted "least popular student" in the West Ada, Idaho, school district: the 17 year old kid who took down the district's computer system, forcing students to retake the state mandated achievement test multiple times.
In mid May, just as 36,000 students across the district's 52 schools were taking their Idaho Standard Achievement test to complete the school year, an unnamed Eagle High School student paid someone to DDoS the district's computers in a series of attacks. This rendered the computer systems unavailable for the better part of a week, disrupting not only the state testing process but also online learning and textbooks as well as administrative and business systems, including staff payroll.
Though the student hasn't been named publicly, school authorities know who he is. The student was traced by his IP address. So far he has been suspended from school, but the administrators are recommending expulsion.
The youngster may have thought it was funny to disrupt the computer systems at such an important time of the year. Or perhaps he had test anxiety and really wanted to get out of taking the end of year exam. He certainly wouldn't be the first student turning to a DDoS attack to shut down a school's systems. (Read Sorry kids, your final exam has been DDoS'd.)
Nevertheless, he is facing some pretty adult punishment. Interfering with a computer system like this is a state felony and a federal felony offense. He may well face up to 180 days at a juvenile detention center for his crime. What's more, his family may be held responsible for financial restitution for the attack.
There are numerous lessons from this situation. First of all, kids, don't try this at home! You might feel like the big man on campus to take down your school's computer systems, but it's no joke. In fact, it's a crime, and there are serious consequences, including potential jail time.
And the next lesson is for the school districts. You are vulnerable to DDoS attacks and you need to protect your systems with a real DDoS security solution. Anyone – even children – can pay a few bucks to use a DDoS service that will take you out of business for hours or days. Plug this hole before copycat kids come after you.