Domanik Green a 14 year old, eighth grader from Florida has been charged with a felony for hacking the computer of one of his teachers and changing the desktop background to a picture of two men kissing. The hacking was easy to accomplish because the teacher used an easily guessed password. The hacking itself was more of an innocuous prank than a serious hack. The student made no attempt to change grades or even access other data. Yet under Florida law, Green was charged with a felony, which, if he is convicted of, could have a serious effect on his ability to get a job or go to college. More than anything else, the incident highlighted the school’s security failings. It has been reported that the particular school attended by Green used weak passwords and that students were even able to view the teachers entering their passwords.
Hopefully, a more appropriate sanction other than a felony conviction will be done in this case. This case also, once again, highlights the importance of using strong passwords and keeping them secret. It is also important for people to use unique passwords for every account that they have. A strong password will combine capital letters, small letters and symbols. A good way to pick a password is to choose a short phrase, such as IDon’tLikePasswords and then add a couple of symbols so it reads IDon’tLikePasswords!!! which can then be used as a base password to be adapted by a few letters to indicate a particular account so, for instance using this password for an Amazon account would make it IDon’tLikePasswords!!!Ama. That would be a strong and unique password.