Macedon Police reported the arrest on Monday (4/8) of 16 year-old Nicholas C. Upham of Macedon for Felony Computer Trespass, a Class E Felony.
It is alleged Upham downloaded a software operating system from his home computer and attempted to download it onto the Gananda School District computer system. The purpose given to police was for Upham to flood the school’s server and disrupt computer operations.
According to Macedon Police Officer Ed O’Konsky the software used could have infected other linked school district systems. A final security system caught the electronic intrusion before it went too far.
Upham, described by police as “a very intelligent computer geek”, attempted the intrusion on four different dates in March on school computers. His parents fully cooperated with police, handing over Nicholas’ computers and hard drives. He told police he did not intend to damage the school system but just wanted to prove he could do it. He was released to his parents and will appear in Macedon Court on May 7th. The school is also taking disciplinary action.
This is not the first such intrusion into Wayne County school district computers. Several years ago a student at Palmyra-Macedon obtained passwords and was close to accessing the school records.
According to Cheryl Van Harken, the Newark School District Coordinator of Technology Support Services, students have never “hacked” their system. The District servers are managed by an outside company responsible for back-up and control services. Infinite Campus maintain “Very protective practices”.
Newark, as well as other school districts, maintain all data relating to a student and connects with the state. VanHarken said the districts count on BOCES for filtering intrusions and hackers. “BOCES are our friends. We can’t do it alone. We really count on them.”
Cheryl admits that, with some of today’s internet sites pointing the way on how to hack systems, combined with computer savvy students, schools constantly have to be on guard. Schools avoid putting computers in “nooks and crannies” out of sight of prying teacher’s eyes. “Teachers can no longer simply sit behind a desk”.
In addition, the school district computer coordinators take a pro-active approach, watching what sites students visit. Students are always trying to circumvent filters put in place. “It takes an enormous amount of time,” admitted Van Harken.