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Florida teen charged with hacking felony for changing computer wallpaper

According to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, 14-year-old Domanik Green has been charged with a cybercrime felony for using an administrator password to log onto a school computer and change the computer’s background wallpaper. The eighth-grader, who attends Paul R. Smith Middle School, changed the wallpaper on March 31 as a juvenile prank on his teacher to a wallpaper that showed two men kissing.

Sheriff Chris Nocco released a statement that said Green has been charged with an “offense against a computer system and unauthorized access,” a third degree felony that includes a maximum imprisonment up to five years and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

When asked about the crime, Nocco said “Even though some might say this is just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done.” Of course, the Sheriff’s office admits that Green only changed the wallpaper and didn’t perform any other actions, such as accessing standardized test questions or changing student grades.

When interviewed by the Tampa Bay Times, Green indicates that the school’s password protection scheme was extremely inept. Green watched a teacher log into the system using the teacher’s last name as a password. Recounting the event, Green said “I logged into a teacher’s computer who I didn’t like and tried putting inappropriate pictures onto his computer to annoy him.” A substitute teacher noticed the altered wallpaper and reported it to the front office.

Green also indicated that the teacher passwords were known to multiple students, thus students would often log into school computers and use the school’s webcams to video chat on Skype.

While Green received a 10-day suspension for changing the computer’s wallpaper, he now faces criminal charges. The Sheriff’s office indicated that more children at the school will be charged with felonies if they receive similar evidence of computer tampering. A representative of the school district also released a statement indicating that passwords are being changed on teacher accounts.