The Suspicious Student

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Hello everyone, Detective Cy here with another lesson on staying cyber safe!

While most people know to keep their password secret, were you aware that your login information can be stolen as you’re typing it? By installing a keylogger onto your computer, hackers can track anything you type. This tactic is regularly used to acquire login credentials from unsuspecting victims. In fact, such an attack recently occurred in one of my local school districts.

While preparing to teach her daily lesson, a 10th Grade teacher tried to access a presentation stored on the school’s network. Unfortunately, she encountered connectivity issues that prevented her from logging in. She didn’t think there would be enough time to contact the IT department before the class began, but a helpful student let her use their laptop instead. Using the laptop, the teacher was able to log into her account without an issue. When the class ended, she contacted the IT department and was told that the problem was caused by the network cable being unplugged.

While the teacher was able to give her presentation, she didn’t notice that a keylogger was running on the laptop. The program recorded and stored everything she typed, including her login data. The student waited a few weeks, then used the stolen information to access the teacher’s account. This allowed them to change all of their grades, as well as the grades of their friends.

The teacher didn’t notice the changed grades until she was entering new test results weeks later. Unsure of how this happened, she contacted the IT department again. After an investigation of her account, they noticed that someone had been changing grades during her class all year. Using this information, they were able to track down the guilty student.

When the news broke that a student had been altering grades, countless parents demanded a review of their children’s marks. Not only did this cause an audit of all grades within the school district, but several teachers had to spend extra time manually correcting every fraudulent change.

To prevent this from happening to your school district, there are a few steps you should take before using a new device:

First, if your computer can’t access the internet, ensure that the network cable is plugged in or that your WiFi settings are enabled. Students can easily unplug a network cable and then offer you their unsafe computer to use instead. Secondly, always contact the IT department if you encounter a connection problem. They will typically know how to best resolve these issues.

Lessons Learned:

•          Avoid logging into accounts while using unfamiliar devices or networks.

•          Contact your IT department for help with connectivity issues.

•          Students are one of the biggest insider threats for school.

•          Keep a secure backup of your files on a portable drive or the cloud for safe and easy access.

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