the prodigy - SpearTip

the prodigy - SpearTip

CASE STUDIES THE PRODIGY BRINGING A TEEN HACKER TO JUSTICE The campus of one of the nation’s top private high schools seems like the last place for a...

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THE PRODIGY BRINGING A TEEN HACKER TO JUSTICE The campus of one of the nation’s top private high schools seems like the last place for a full-scale cyber attack, but that’s just what SpearTip encountered recently. For over a month, the school’s online learning tools and teaching programs had been corrupted and rendered unusable by a student hacker intent on interrupting classroom learning. But the hacker was far from satisfied by just shutting down classrooms. The culprit launched a series of social media attacks and threats so severe that parents withheld their children from school out of fear of a mass shooting or personal harm. Having wrestled with the student hacker for over a month, the institution’s Chief Information Officer was left with no alternative but to enlist the assistance of both SpearTip and law enforcement. Our team of operatives used a multi-disciplined approach to analyze the situation. Faculty was interviewed about the case and questioned about students who might have the sophistication to carry out the attacks.


The students’ school-issued laptops were analyzed until clues and evidence were uncovered. A single suspect was identified based on his communications with a known group of hackers, which had been initiated on his school laptop. SpearTip monitored the student’s activities until we could provide necessary forensic evidence to law enforcement to have the youthful hacker arrested. As our evidence had indicated, the student was using mobile technology (a mobile phone) to initiate his attacks on the school’s servers. He attacked during regular time frames and used predictable login patterns. With knowledge of the student’s behaviors in-hand, a trap was set and the student was caught in the act. At that moment, the Prodigy’s reign of terror ended, with the young man being arrested by law enforcement authorities. (As a matter of privacy and confidentiality, SpearTip never names clients when providing case studies.)