Pupils hack a day off school

By Jessica Elgot, February 16, 2012
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Most pupils watching the first flakes of snow cross their fingers, hoping that their school will close the next day.

But as the snow fell earlier this month, some JFS pupils went to extraordinary lengths to make sure they got a "snow day".

As snow fell on February 4, parents who looked at the school website were informed that "school will remain open as normal".

But within hours a hack, known as a "DDOS attack", took down the JFS site - leaving parents unable to check whether the school would remain open in the further snow.

After the site went down, students are alleged to have created a fake email, purportedly sent from JFS, informing parents that the school was closed due to heavy snow. The email provided a link to a cloned version of the school's website.

The school has identified a number of pupils whom it believes are behind the website's hacking.

Others are alleged to have downloaded the program behind the fake email and used it to send the message to their parents. At least one pupil has been suspended.

Many older pupils were absent from school on the following Monday, owing to the success of the hack and the plausibility of the fake email.

Students on social networking sites openly discussed the plan to take down the website, urging the alleged "hackers" to keep the official website shut down. One said: "Kids were going crazy over this; the names of the hackers were all over Facebook.

"Students who they were not even friendly with managed to find out about what they had done. They have clearly shown [up] some major security issues in the JFS website."

JFS was closed for half-term this week and no-one from the school was available for comment.

Last updated: 1:36pm, February 16 2012