California teen arrested after hacking into school grading system

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The grading system at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord was hacked by a 16-year-old sophomore. That student has been suspended. (KGO-TV)

The grading system at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, Calif. was hacked by a 16-year-old sophomore. That student has been suspended.

He spoke to ABC7 News about how and why he did it.

Surveillance video shows the moment armed officers and the Secret Service broke down the door to David Rotaro's home.

The 16-year-old admitted to ABC7 News that he did hack into the school's grading network. "It was like stealing candy from a baby."

It took Rotaro just five minutes to create a phishing email which he sent out to school staff. Administrators were tipped off about two weeks ago when someone in the I.T. Department got that phishing email but it went to spam.

Just in case, he asked all of the other teachers if they had gotten the same email. Only one admitted to opening it.

All he needed was one username and password. Rotaro raised and even dropped the grades of 10 to 15 people.

"He was charged with crimes ranging from unauthorized use of entering network to personal info," said Sgt. Carl Cruz of the Concord police.

"I'm speechless. I don't know what to say," Rotaro added.

He says he wanted to also point out the school's vulnerability. "I did kind of want to give awareness to cybersecurity," Rotaro told ABC7 News.

His parents, meantime, had no idea their son had this skill set.

"I"m frustrated he did this and I don't want him to be in juvenile hall," said Rotaro's father Christian.

Rotaro was released from custody Wednesday and by the way, he never got around to changing his own grades.
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educationtechnologyhackingschoolstudentsteacherteachersschool boardarrestpoliceinvestigationcyberattackCalifornia
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