Florida 8th Grader Pranks Teacher, Charged With Cybercrime

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 13, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A Tampa, Florida eighth-grader was charged with a felony for logging on to a teacher's computer and changing the background image to two men kissing. Domanik Green said he didn't like the teacher, so he "tried putting inappropriate pictures onto his computer to annoy him."

Florida computer crimes laws make unauthorized access of a computer, computer system, or computer network a felony. Green was arrested by sheriff's deputies, processed, and released from a juvenile detention facility. Green was also suspended from school for 10 days and could face five years in jail and $5,000 in fines.

Secure Computer Network?

So how was Green able to hack into the school's secure computer network? According to the Tampa Bay Times:

Green had previously received a three-day suspension for accessing the system inappropriately. Other students also got in trouble at the time, he said. It was a well-known trick, Green said, because the password was easy to remember: a teacher's last name. He said he discovered it by watching the teacher type it in.

Hopping onto the school's administrative account to "screen-share with friends" was apparently common practice at the school, and Green only used this teacher's computer because another he logged into had no camera.

As it turns out, the computer Green used that morning also had encrypted standardized test questions on it, although there is no evidence Green accessed those files. A spokeswoman claimed the school district is in the process of changing the network password.

Hacking Away

Although a judge will probably offer Green a pretrial diversion program to avoid a criminal charge, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said it should serve as a warning to other students. State computer crimes laws can vary by jurisdiction, and Florida's statute is particularly strict. Merely accessing a computer when a person knows that access is unauthorized can constitute a computer crime.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard