Former IT manager pleads guilty to attacking high school network

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Conor LaHiff, a erstwhile IT head for a New Jersey nationalist precocious school, has admitted to committing a cyberattack against his erstwhile employer pursuing nan termination of his employment successful June 2023.

Last week, nan U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that LaHiff pleaded blameworthy to 1 count of unauthorized harm to protected computers, violating nan Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

The DOJ announcement describes nan cyberattack arsenic an enactment of retaliation, specifically targeting Apple and IT administrator accounts to origin harm and disruption to nan school's operations.

"After he was fired, LaHiff utilized his administrative privileges to deactivate and delete thousands of Apple IDs from nan school's Apple School Manager relationship – package utilized to negociate student, module and unit accusation exertion resources," reads nan U.S. DOJ announcement.

"LaHiff besides deactivated much than 1,400 different Apple accounts and different IT administrative accounts and abnormal nan school's backstage branch telephone system, which near nan school's telephone work unavailable for astir 24 hours."

According to published court documents, LaHiff performed nan pursuing actions aft nan termination of his employment:

  • Deleted 1,200 Apple IDs from nan school's Apple School Manager account
  • Deactivated complete 1,400 different Apple accounts
  • Attempted to disconnect Apple Class IDs, Course IDs, Location IDs, and Person IDs from nan school's Apple School Manager account.
  • Deactivated administrative accounts, including accounts astatine information vendors.
  • Disabled nan school's backstage branch telephone service

The announcement says that LaHiff's actions caused nan schoolhouse to incur astatine slightest $5,000 successful nonstop financial losses.

This is different lawsuit of a disgruntled erstwhile worker utilizing their not-revoked high-level entree to cause damage to captious networks retired of spite.

The elemental enactment of coordinating quality assets decisions pinch IT section actions, specified arsenic revoking relationship entree for dismissed personnel, would importantly mitigate specified risks.

Interestingly, contempt his actions, LaHiff had already filled a akin position astatine different nationalist precocious school, which nan judge is requiring LaHiff to notify astir nan blameworthy plea.

LaHiff is scheduled to beryllium sentenced connected March 20, 2024, and faces a imaginable maximum punishment of 10 years successful situation and fines of up to $250,000.