Teens accused of altering students' grades, schedules
Three students from Commack High School were arrested Tuesday morning and accused of breaking into their school district’s computer system to change two students’ grades and nearly 300 students’ schedules, the Suffolk County Police Department said.
Cops identified the three 17-year-olds as Alex Mosquera of East Northport and Commack natives Daniel Soares and Erick Vaysman, alleging they were behind an unauthorized breach of the Commack Union Free School District’s computer system back in July. They surrendered to detectives on Tuesday around 7:30 a.m. and were scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip later in the day, police said.
Attorney information for the three teenagers was not immediately available.
Police said they were first notified of the data breach in July, when the Commack school district determined an unauthorized person, or group of people, accessed its network and altered the schedules of nearly 300 students. The district was able to identify the alterations and correct the schedules before students arrived for class in September, the district said. The county police department’s computer crimes section also investigated the breach and found two students’ grades were altered, SCPD said.
The district posted news of the arrest on its website Tuesday morning, but did not identify the students by name.
“We know that the actions of a few students do not reflect on the entire student body,” the Commack Union Free School District said in the statement. “From kindergarten through high school graduation, the district teaches and reinforces the attributes that contribute to good character: courtesy, honesty, attaining pride, responsibility, accountability, compassion, tolerance, endurance and respect. With reinforcement and guidance by their families, our students reflect those values.”
Mosquera was charged with computer trespass and criminal solicitation; Soares was charged with burglary, computer tampering, identity theft, computer trespass and eavesdropping; and Vaysman was charged with computer tampering and criminal solicitation, cops said Tuesday. The arrests came just weeks after the district went public with news of the initial breach, which was posted to its website last month. In response, the district bulked up its data protection protocols by adding security features to student management systems and implementing a 24-hour active monitoring program.
Some of the information that may have been viewed, the district said, included student identification numbers, names, addresses, contact information and schedules. Social security numbers, however, are not in the student management system.
Password protection safeguards and network protocols also prevented any further access to the district’s data management system and kept private and personal information safe, the district said in a statement.
“We believe the initial data breach only involved a very limited number of high school student records,” the district said in a statement. “The district continues to cooperate fully with local law enforcement agencies, and our IT department is working closely with the police to provide digital data to assist law enforcement. In addition, a full electronic security review is underway with a company that specializes in network security.”