Middle-Schooler Gets Charged with ‘Computer Hacking’ Felony

An eighth grade student has been charged with a felony after he allegedly hacked into the computer of a teacher and changed the desktop background.

Dominik Green, 14, has seemingly gotten himself into a world of trouble. He is charged with a felony for hacking his teacher’s computer. What did the eighth grader do exactly? Green logged into his teacher’s computer to change the background of the computer with a picture of two men kissing. Obviously, Dominik knew the password to be a common one which was widely known among his classmates as well. A daring school-boy prank, certainly. A felony though?

When it comes to laws related to computer hacking or unauthorized access, the focus is usually the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Local law enforcement took up the mantle here, however.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said Green had logged onto the school’s network on March 31st using an administrator password without permission. One of the computers Green had allegedly accessed also had encrypted data related to the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Despite the outrage that came with charging a 14 year old schoolboy with ‘hacking’, County Sheriff simply stated: “”Even though some might say this is just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done,”

The youngster maintained it was nothing more than an innocent prank. He was arrested and detained at a youth detention center, before being released into the custody of his mother later the same day.

Upon further investigation, the school and the sheriff have admitted to not finding any evidence that Green had ever intended to tamper with the encrypted questionnaire files.

Green, later interviewed at home said students would often log into the administrative account to screen-share with their friends. It was common knowledge he said and they’d also used the school computers’ cameras to see each other. He also added that it was a well-known trick among students because the password was particularly easy to remember: a teacher’s last name.

On the morning of the alleged crime Green said he accessed the computer that stored the FCAT files and upon realizing that the computer didn’t have a camera attached to it, found another to log onto.

“So I logged out of that computer and logged into a different one and I logged into a teacher’s computer who I didn’t like and tried putting inappropriate pictures onto his computer to annoy him,” Green said.

His mother, Eileen Foster added that while she understands her son did something wrong, he didn’t need to be arrested. She also said it should’ve have been so basic and easy for students to access the system.

County Sherriff Chris Noco added: “If information comes back to us and we get evidence (that other kids have done it), they’re going to face the same consequences,” Nocco said.

Green also received a 10-day school suspension and it’s unclear if he’ll return to the same school after serving his suspension.