Teen arrested after allegedly taking down school district's Web access

Technically Incorrect: A 17-year-old from Idaho is reportedly accused of paying a third party to organize DDoS attacks against his school district.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Web access was allegedly disrupted for 10 days. KTVB-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You're 17 and you don't like school.

Please join the hundreds of millions around the world who feel like you and just accept it until they leave.

An Idaho teen, however, is being accused of taking things out on not only his own school but his whole school district.

It's unclear why he might have done this. What is more clear is that he allegedly paid a third party to organize multiple distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) assaults upon the West Ada School District. A DDOS assault is when computers around the world overwhelm a server to the point where it can't function properly.

As KTVB-TV reports, all 52 schools in the district suddenly found their Internet access kept dying. They couldn't blame Comcast or Time Warner, could they? It seems not.

So officials investigated, a process that led them to a 17-year-old at Eagle High School. He was allegedly located through an IP address. Another student, this time of middle school level, is also reportedly under investigation.

Idaho Standard Achievement Testing, which has been occurring over the last 10 days, requires online access. Because of this disruption, many had to take the tests again, which is the height of cruelty.

The system allegedly also lost record of kids' results, according to the report. Which would be doubly galling if you did better the first time than the second.

Given that the teen allegedly paid someone to orchestrate such attacks, one assumes that he understood what effect they might have. In this case, he's reportedly been arrested and may be charged with a felony. He has also been suspended, pending a potential expulsion, according to the report.

I have contacted West Ada School District to ask whether this teen was a student who'd been in trouble before and whether there's any indication of his motivation. Long is the spectrum with fun at one end and spite at the other. I will update, should I hear.

Kids, it may seem funny or even splendidly mean to interfere with a school's IT systems. But you know that nothing stays secret too long in this world, don't you? Not even your Snapchats.