Every tech teacher and school administrator’s nightmare is dealing with a student who starts to use the tech knowledge provided to him to hack computers.  It becomes the school’s liability to make such students understand that they can use their special skills by choosing a career as a cybersecurity professional rather than indulge into illegal activities. 

Here are a few suggestions to identify such students. Look out for children with a high technical aptitude. They will be able to resolve all technical issues. They would always be updated with all the latest gadgets in the market and their working. They would be extra curious about technology. Be aware if they happen to change a teacher’s password or access prohibited content on the internet. Some might do this to seek attention, some may just want to show-off, some might think it to be a harmless prank but the teachers need to be careful. If it is not addressed in time, changing passwords can quickly turn into running bitcoin miners on school computers or the school system could be hijacked and sensitive data could fall into the hands of scrupulous people. 

Keep your ears open to figure out what could seem like codewords. Children can hold a full conversation discussing their hacking ideas in front of adults without them having any clue what is going on. Be ready to intervene if you happen to hear some of the following terms they might use- 

  • (WiFi) Pineapple – A wireless auditing platform that allows the conduction of penetration tests.
  • (LAN) Turtle – A covert systems administration and penetration testing tool.
  • Hashcat – A password cracking tool.
  • Netcat – Network Cache Attack; a side-channel attack method.
  • Kali Linux – An advanced penetration testing Linux distribution used for penetration testing, ethical hacking and network security assessments.
  • Tor – free software that lets you operate on the internet anonymously.

Speak with their parents immediately. You may want to phrase your conversation in a way that they understand your intention is for the benefit for their child. You may like to tell them that their child displays a strong skill set with computers and how it can be developed in a healthy way. They also would need to know that if left unchecked the child may tred the forbidden path.

Next is to dig into what is the motive behind the action. It could be pure curiosity to figure out how things work, money, if they have figured out how to get rich instantly by becoming a hacker, they may be looking for fame and power by becoming a skilled cyber-criminal. Each situation will need to be handled differently. Do not discourage their curiosity and skills instead redirect it. You may want to include them in the school tech team and also pay them for their contributions. Keep a close eye on them and reinforce the idea how they can enhance their skill which can be utilized for the betterment of society. 

Imagine what would happen if some student were to be able to hack your school ERP. You would jeopardise so many students’ sensitive information. Cybersecurity is an important, thrilling and a rapidly growing technology. You just need to show them the right direction. 

Source: eSchool News