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Hinsdale Students Accused Of Hacking ! - 5/14/2005 6:25:59 AM   

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Two upperclassmen at Hinsdale Central High School could face criminal charges for allegedly breaking into a school database that contained the Social Security numbers of all of the school's students and staff, school officials said Thursday.

The school discovered the intrusion when investigating another, unrelated report of a security breach, said school spokeswoman Charla Russell.

Hinsdale Central notified teachers and parents Tuesday the database had been hacked into, and gave them contact information so they could check on the possibility of identity theft. The incident was also reported to Hinsdale police, who are conducting their own investigation, she said.

"There is no evidence the Social Security numbers have been used or were even the target," Russell said.

Officials would not identify the students, except to say they are upperclassmen, and would not say how they gained access.

"We don't want people to know how they did it. The last thing we need is people going in and trying to do it again," Russell said.

The investigation is ongoing, and more students may be involved, she said.

The students apparently had a list of Social Security numbers for several months, but told school officials they didn't use the list for anything and destroyed it, the school's principal, James Ferguson, wrote in a letter to parents.

"The students seemed to be more focused on entering the files to demonstrate that they could gather the data than on actually using the Social Security numbers," Ferguson wrote.

The school discovered the breach in the last week, and once they confirmed it, notified staff and sent letters home to parents Tuesday, Russell said.

The school's technology department is working to restructure the school's computer system to prevent a reoccurrence, she said.

The two students could face criminal charges, said Hinsdale Deputy Police Chief Kevin Simpson.

"We are definitely looking into that," Simpson said.
  Source : ChicagoTribune
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