A 14-year-old boy in Florida has been arrested and charged with an offence against a computer system and unauthorised access after he changed a teacher’s desktop background.
Eighth-grader Domanik Green of Paul R. Smith Middle School used a teacher’s administrative password to log on to a school computer, before changing the desktop wallpaper to an image of two men kissing. Police found that Green did not access test questions or answer schemes while on the computer.
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Green, who has now been released from Land O’Lakes Detention Centre, explained that his actions were little more than a schoolboy joke.
"I logged into a teacher's computer who I didn't like and tried putting inappropriate pictures onto his computer to annoy him," Green told the Tampa Bay Times.
In fact, Green says he is not the only one of his classmates to use the administrative password to access computers, highlighting some lax security protocols at the school. The student explained that admin passwords were simply the teacher’s last name, making school computers easy to access. He added that he and his friends frequently use the passwords to video chat or screenshare while at school.
The local sheriff Chris Nocco said that although the offence may seem insignificant, another teenager could have used the administrative access with far more serious consequences.
"If information comes back to us and we get evidence (that other kids have done it), they're going to face the same consequences," he said.
Green was originally suspended for three days, but was later arrested after the school deemed that his actions were more serious than at first thought. Green’s mother Eileen Foster added that although her son had done something wrong, the arrest was unnecessary.
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She also claimed that the existing password system, which has now been overhauled, made it far too easy for students to gain unauthorised access.