11 High School Students Expelled for Hacking School Computers

The Los Angeles Times reports that California’s Newport-Mesa Unified School District voted this week to remove 11 Corona del Mar High School students from the school after they were charged with installing keyloggers on school computers in order to change grades and view tests in advance (h/t Ars Technica).

Still, the students will be allowed to attend other schools in the district, and the expulsions won’t be included in their transcripts or official records.

“While the current student discipline matters have concluded, the lingering effects of the hacking incident at Corona del Mar continue as part of an ongoing investigation. … The District is currently involved in an intensive audit of all CdM teachers’ grade books so that we can ensure the integrity and accuracy of all posted grades,” Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education president Karven Yelsey stated in an announcement regarding the decision. “The District has also taken preventative measures and is implementing a new notification system districtwide to flag grade changes.”

Newport Beach police officers are continuing to seek a tutor, Timothy Lance Lai, 28, who allegedly provided the students with the keyloggers and showed them how to use them.

Lai’s home was searched in December 2013, but he hasn’t been found. Ars Technica reports that the search turned up, among other things, four USB drives, two hard drives, a “legal notepad with student names,” a “micro camera with attached battery,” an “unknown electronic device” and a “book with cut-out containing a concealed, unknown electronic device.”

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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