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Another School Student Faces Hacking Charges

A student of Mauldin High School admitted before the police that he had hacked personal data from a computer network in the Greenville County school district. The student faces charges of violating the Computer Crime Act of the state, as per a warrant. He said he wanted to prove to the people how easy it was to hack.

Robert Charles Sipes, aged 17, told police that some months back he had raised alarm in the district that its network system was far from secure, according to a report of Mauldin police.

An officer of the district informed police on April 4, 2007 that two J.L. Mann High School students had managed access to the district's protected computer network, according to a report of Greenville police.

Both incidents took place in December 2006 when the district was handling a situation of security loss of a large number of Social Security numbers of students and staff. The district, however, did not announce the network hack. The Greenville News came to know about it from a reader's hint.

The reason Sipes gave for the hack was he wanted to check whether the district was able to repair a security fault about which he had alerted the technology director via e-mail in 2006, the case report revealed.

The students of J.L. Mann could reach the network by entering a certain password. One of the students had got it from an instructor when he was a summer intern at the IT department of the district, a district official informed police.

The two students applied the password to bring down a system with which teachers monitored their students' activities on their respective computers, said Wade Shealy, director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools in the district to police. The pair downloaded software that recovers passwords; then they used it to unlock other passwords, Shealy said in the report.

According to the report, the students said there was no criminal motive behind the hack.

Authorities suspended Sipes and a younger classmate, according to district officials. Two students of J.L. Mann were also suspended.

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