Whether it's intentional or not, these students broke the rules and caused issues that led them to no longer have access to their school's computers. But some of these stories seem a little too harsh, in terms of punishment. (Content has been edited for clarity)
Random Photos Kept Getting Sent His Printer…
“I didn’t get banned for this because I never got caught until I ratted myself out. In my Computer Science class, I managed to find every printer in the domain on campus. I went browsing through them all seeing as they were all named by their classroom number and not which teacher until I came across gold. ROTC Printer 1. At the time, my girlfriend was in ROTC and she was always saying the Colonel was a nice guy, so being the jerk I am, I decided to mess with him.
Every day during my Computer Science class, I would find a random picture online and send it to his printer with his name on it and some messages.
Fast forward to graduation, the Colonel was there shaking hands with every graduate and I walked up to him and asked him if he liked the pictures. The look on his face was priceless. He just sat there and muttered, ‘You son of a…’ and started to laugh. He had told me he was going crazy because it would print at the exact time every day. He also taught a class that period in the room and he said it creeped his class out. He applauded my dedication to the prank as I did this from day two of Computer Science class to the end of the year, which was the year I graduated. My girlfriend at the time was clueless and turned out she was in that very same class that I sent the pictures too. That one didn’t turn over well.”
The School Was Concerned By His Vampire Obsession?
“In middle school, I was really into the paranormal and miniature games like Warhammer.
One day I was supposed to meet with some administrator about my almost failing math grades and I spaced on it. My mom wasn’t supposed to pick me up until 5 pm most days, so I’d kill a couple of hours after school in the library doing homework or noodling around on the computer. I found a forum for the vampire counts from Warhammer fantasy battles and spent a lot of time lurking in threads about strategies and army compositions and how to beat so-and-so faction.
So the admin I was supposed to meet with, but forgot, came looking for me and found me on a ‘vampire forum.’ She stated that we had a meeting and I apologized but explained I thought it was tomorrow but that I ready to meet. She told me that I was lying loud enough for the librarian to tell her to be quiet.
Red-faced, I followed her to her office and we had the talk about my grades. As it’s wrapping up, she brought up the fact that I’d been producing a lot of morbid art. I had made a graveyard, a hanging tree and a mausoleum as terrain for my little pewter vampires in fine arts and the art teacher flagged me as being mentally distressed. In photography, we got to play with photographic plates. They slowly absorbed light and if you removed things before the plates set, it left behind ghostly images. So naturally, I made spooky scenes with skeletons and monsters with ghostly words like ‘death’ and Metallica lyrics floating in the background. The photography teacher also flagged me.
Finding me on a ‘vampire forum’ after ditching our meeting was the last straw for the admin. I tried, in vain, to explain that it was for a board game and I was not depressed or being abused, and no one had died recently that was close to me. She was convinced I was thinking about killing myself and was convinced that I was a vampire.
My mom, to her credit, knew that I was just really into the fun game that I played with my friends, with hand-painted models. All the characters had names and goals and invented backstories. Nonetheless, I was banned from using the computers in the computer lab or the library, for fear that the ‘vampire people’ were trying to convince me to kill myself so I could become a vampire like them.”
Messing Around With The School Computers Probably Landed Them On A Government “List”
“I thought it would be fun to move all of the school’s folders in the public drive into a hidden folder on the public drive.
The keyword here is ‘move.’ They found out about halfway through. Unfortunately, since I moved most of the stuff, I became the new owner and, apparently, they couldn’t go into the AD and change the owner with a simple command.
But what really got me in trouble was they found a purchase order, ready to submit, for a couple dozen iPads, some computers, and about $10,000 of other goodies. The part that made it especially heinous was that I also had pictures of the Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of State, and some other 5 star generals’ signatures in the same folder.
Normally a school would laugh it off and give me a warning, but I happened to be at a Department of Defense school at the time. So they got REAL mad.
I was taking an online class computer programming class at the time, so my parents somehow managed to talk to the principal and get me supervised computer time.
If this were any other school, I think I’d be fine, but since this was a DoD school, I’m pretty sure I’m on some sort of list.”
He Cost His School Over Ten Thousand Dollars!
“This was in the days of Windows 95. The loading screen was saved in the system folder under the name ‘logo.sys’, but was actually just a simple bitmap (.bmp) that you could edit with MSPaint or any other program. So naturally, I replaced it with a Jolly Roger flag and the message: ‘This network was taken over by (some pseudo hacker name I don’t recall).’
I then copied it over to all computers on the network, because for some reason, the network admin (aka IT teacher, who was basically clueless) had enabled the whole c: drive as a shared folder, with full write access for everybody. I also created a shortcut to shut the computer down and moved it into the autostart folder, creating a boot loop (a stupid one that you could circumvent in five seconds).
The computer lab was closed for almost two months, they called in some specialist who apparently billed the school above $10K for a ‘full network sweep’ or some other nonsense. And then someone tried to rat me out (not because of evidence, just because they knew I was a geek). Of course, I denied all allegations and they eventually stopped bothering me, but as a preventive measure, I was banned from using the school computers.
They were bad anyway.”
Coca Cola Theme Song Played On All Of The Computers!
“Back when I was in high school, around 1994, I wrote a program that would play the old Coca-Cola theme song in beep codes, non-stop. All the computers in the school library had some kind security on them to prevent you from tampering with them, but honestly, any kid back then that played video games knew how to bypass programs in the autoexec.bat.
So when the school library opened the next day, all 30 or so computers started playing the song. I remember assuming that all the computers would play the song at the same time since they were all turned on at the same time. However since all the computers booted up at different speeds, it just sounded like a hundred alarms going off.
I remember inconspicuously walking past the library and thinking this was all very funny.
However a few days later, I was called into the principal’s office. In the office were the head librarian, the principal, the main computer teacher and the representative of some software company the school district bought their security software from.
The software security guy looked pretty upset. I vaguely remember him starting down some long speech about ethics. As a 15-year-old kid, I had a bad habit of not listening to people even if we were making eye contact.
I do remember that computer teacher had always been very good to me. I remember her interrupting him and saying, ‘Now, you won’t get in trouble if you tell us how you did it.’
‘No big secret, you just hold down the SHIFT key when the computer boots up.’
I remember the software guy said something like, ‘That won’t work.’
I responded with something like, ‘Well, I guess it didn’t happen then.’
I remember the software guy got quiet, the principal asked me to show them, so I did. I was allowed to go back to class, but I was not allowed back in the library for the rest of the school year.
I never went in there anyway, so no big loss. That said, I still have no idea how they found out it was me.”
He Changed The System’s Language Selection?
One teacher gave me detention for renaming the hard drive on her Mac Classic to ‘Junk.’ You know, the old System 6 with the single click to rename. She thought I’d ‘hacked’ it.
I swapped the ‘D’ and ‘F’ keys on computer teacher’s keyboard. The guy was good with computers all around and a programming genius but somehow couldn’t type without looking; he kept entering his password incorrectly. We had a good laugh when he finally figured it out.
I used the Mac OS 9 network sharing on random computers in the lab to create file servers, named them as if they belonged to other schools in the district. Computer teacher spent a few hours trying to figure out why he could see other schools’ servers on our network. Lost computer lab privileges for a week.
I was upset about how locked down the new iMacs with OSX were (no games, couldn’t install anything, most Web sites were blocked). The lockdown software was actually pretty good in comparison to the school’s previous attempts, I couldn’t find a way to get past it, but discovered language options and files weren’t locked down… so I changed the system language to Cantonese and then deleted all the other language files. I finally got myself banned for that one.
Bonus: One of my friends submitted a favorite quote for his yearbook photo, it got rejected. Through some social engineering, snooping, and clever use of network file sharing, he gained access to the password-protected yearbook files from the other computer lab after they’d received final approval from the powers that be and before they’d submitted it to the printers. His grad photo now reads: ‘May your underwear become carnivorous.'”
He Wanted To Retaliate Against The School?
“I got banned once for using the ‘net send’ command on Windows NT.
Our school had at least 100 computers on it, so running ‘net send’ made it so ‘message goes here’ would pop up a dialogue on every single computer on the network.
I thought it’d be funny to put a Linux style shut down the message in there, telling people to save their work. Instead, it seems some teachers manually powered off their machines losing ‘weeks of work.’
It’s not my fault they were dumb. My message couldn’t do anything to their computer, and it told them to save their work, not blindly power off their machine. Also, the admins at this high school knew nothing. They should have had all that stuff locked down.
In retaliation for this, when I was let back onto the computers a few weeks later, I wrote VB macro that froze the computer by spawning hundreds of forms all over the screen until the computer couldn’t even put up a dialogue box about the fact it’s running out of resources. I placed the file into startup so that it happened every time someone logged on. It felt good.
In the end, facing a dire lack of computer knowledge, the IT administration hired a bunch of us school kids to help them at least keep the IT infrastructure working. In fact, it was entirely run by students (and a former student who was trying to get on with his life). I was one of these kids. It was sort of fun. I’d sometimes get out of class because of a network or server issue that I had to go help fix. Fun times.”
Causing The Most Computer Problems During His Study Hall Period
“So they let me use my own laptop and stuff in study hall and I was kind of a jerk. Almost got caught a few times but luckily I didn’t brag too much.
I wrote a small program to use the school computers as part of a little botnet that mined bitcoins in the background (they had practically no security and didn’t use network hard drives or anything really).
I also made a simple brute force script to do one of my online classes for me. You had these ‘Daily Lessons’ with like 10 multiple choice questions and you could just take it as many times as you wanted until you got a 100%. It even showed which questions you got right and wrong but I didn’t take advantage of that. I went the lazy brute force route.
I hosted my own fake wifi network with the same ID as our school’s network. People would join it on accident and whenever our school’s crappy wifi went down, they would auto switch to mine. On April Fool’s Day, I used the captive portal to show inappropriate ‘adult content,’ so when everyone opened their browsers in class, they wouldn’t see google.
Our school’s login page was HTTP, so I used Wireshark and collected hundreds of accounts in one day (the IT staff was a joke).
I did a lot of other random stuff like replacing chrome with a bash script that crashed the computer, but those were definitely my biggest accomplishments.”
It All Went Downhill Once They Got Access To All Passwords…
“My friends and I were never banned from our school computers, mostly because our IT department (i.e. one middle-aged woman who didn’t know a thing about computers) was a joke.
We figured out how the password system worked. So everyone in the building had ‘unique’ login username/passwords, but they weren’t all that creative. It basically followed this simple rule: first initial followed by your last name (with a 1 after it if someone had the same combination) and the password would be the same thing. About half of the kids (and teachers) in the school were smart enough to change their password, but a lot weren’t as smart. We got into a lot of teachers accounts and would add weird nonsensical pictures and text documents, never anything that would get them in trouble. Still pretty fun. This lead to us finding the way into the attendance program and grade infrastructure too. If we were rude, we could’ve taken the school down.
We installed Chrome/Firefox/Safari onto every computer we could because Internet Explorer is garbage. It was eventually found out that using Chrome would bypass the school’s internet filters and that was a fun stretch of time.
All of the computers were really crappy, if you put in a USB stick and like, tilted it up a little bit the computer would turn off. A pretty fun trick to play on people.
The computers in the main part of the library were all cloud-based machines, so essentially there were 15 computers running off of one. We created a program that basically killed the network of computers without doing any harm (basically it was an unavoidable restart that would happen as soon as the USB stick it was on was plugged in). Don’t ask me how we created it or what it was because it was completely by accident.
We had a Mac lab that was used by photography/video and music students, and we decided to download WoW onto all of them, which brought down the school’s internet.
Most of the classrooms also had a smart board. We found a way to control them with a remote that we would carry around.
We weren’t troublemakers, but we did have some fun.”
All Of The Drama Made Him Realize His Dislike For Programming…
“Hahaha, this brings me back.
I was studying programming at a Gymnasium (Swedish equivalent of High school). The program was really new, I was part of the programs second year of existence. So because of this, the only tech-savvy people around was my main teacher, who was a programmer, and again, he mostly only knew things about 3D modeling and some basics of programming. We had to learn the most of the stuff on our own.
This teacher in specific was the second teacher after the first computer teacher quit, and I’m thinking what happened to our school following my ban was probably one of the things that made the previous one quit (thanks to my seniors).
This was about a year before Minecraft was a thing. People spent A LOT of time doing things on the computer they shouldn’t be doing. People playing flash games in the dedicated computer rooms, playing CS and all other kinds of games using flash drives and what not. At first, I didn’t bother joining in, because you know, studying and being banned from using a computer while studying programming is quite harsh.
So, it’s just an ordinary weekday, sitting in programming class learning about parent based programming and stuff. Other people are allowed to sit in the classroom at the computers while a lecture is going on. No problem during the lecture. In Swedish high school, we kind of have a lot of time during school hours to do our own work between lectures. So the teacher sat at his desk while everyone worked on assignments and he’s there for questions and so on.
So this is year two, my underclassmen come and sit in the computer room during class. Which isn’t strange, but they started making a ruckus. The teacher walks over, they are sitting as a group for 15 while a class of 12 is having programming class, and playing Quake. So they get suspended, right? WRONG. From that point onward, using a computer outside of YOUR class was prohibited for EVERYONE that was in class that day.
My classmate and I swore revenge! Everyone would pay, the freshmen, the teachers, and the IT guys would suffer. Oh yes, they would suffer. Overtime galore!
And for some reason, it was a lot easier than we thought. For some reason, the command prompt was completely unrestricted. It started with putting the principal (who set the ban) as well as all the freshmen’s computers to sleep. Since they did not have any capture software or anything to monitor what we were doing, it was easy to keep this up for a couple days without anyone bothering to do anything about it. Our IT guys were useless; after trying this and that to keep computers from going to sleep at ‘random’ and going on for a couple weeks, they came to the conclusion that all computers must be infected with a computer virus. They took every single computer, all 100+ of them, and manually reinstalled Windows on all of them, and the principal forced them to do it all in one go. OVERTIME, YEAH! So then we just waited, let them think they managed to fix the problem. Oh no, it was not over. They can take my computer rights away, but they can never take my freedoms. We came back, stronger than ever, this time we made sure not to disrupt anyone actually working on something.
My friend and I turned into the ultimate team, one was the satellite and the other the laser-guided sandman, putting computers to sleep. Whenever teachers were slacking off and not doing work stuff, we would be there, we would see it and then the computer went sleepy times.
This kept going for about two months until everyone’s computer rights to use computers freely again and being able to study outside of class and on breaks was restored.
At this time they had hired a lot of much-needed help on the IT department. And to this day, CMD is unrestricted, and the IT department as well as teachers, still don’t know how to turn on a microwave oven.
We were planning on doing worse than putting computers to sleep, but I mean, we were fighting a war of independence, of freedom. Not a darn massacre. It was like clubbing seals. And we didn’t want them to actually try to wisen up.
And that’s how I got banned from using a computer from school and how I managed to go from only studying on the school computers, to playing games and not giving a crap, and coming out with great grades that have landed me a great engineer education at university. PS. I now hate programming. Thank you school, for not letting me study it when I needed and wanted to.
How we did it? I don’t remember commands, but it was easy. Top this off with all computers having IDS, IPS, and names relative to their position in respective classroom, as well as teacher computers having names corresponding to the teacher and IPS tied to their teacher # on a teacher list. And not only that, all computers had a sticker with these on them as well. Sniping an entire row of computers was easy-peasy.”
How A Jay Leno Video Got Him In Trouble
“Back in the late 90s, when the internet was first starting to gain steam, there were a lot of websites that were basically just made by little kids in their parent’s basements. A lot of them were fan sites for various popular TV shows, movies, and video games because if you wanted to make a website, you could only make one based on a single subject, right? Because of this, to get noticed, you had to do something ‘different’ with your website. Whether you put a gif of a dancing dot or played a song from the show in the background, or maybe the entire site was Cornea Gumbo, you had to be different…kind of.
Also around this time, South Park was huge. Like, massively huge. A lot of people were dedicating websites to the show, none of them particularly good. Once again, a lot of people were just putting animated and static gifs from the show on there, allowing you to download sound clips from the show, and sometimes just bombarding you with repeating pictures of Kenny’s gory death that week.
Enter me: I was probably about 14 or 15 at the time, and I loved South Park. I couldn’t get enough of the show. It got to the point where people would actively tell me to shut the heck up or I’d end up like Kenny. Yeah, I was obsessed. Every lunch, I’d go to the library, and while other kids were looking at Newgrounds or Stick Death or whatever else, I’d be looking up South Park sites, and this is where the banning happens.
I clicked on a particular site, and as soon as I clicked, I hear, so loud that the rest of the library can hear a man screaming and cursing. It was just a simple voice clip of Jay Leno from a special animated segment from Leno’s show that aired around that time. Jay Leno would spell my doom, and technically, because the voice clip was embedded in the site, there was nothing I could have done to stop it.
Not 30 seconds later, I felt a tap on my shoulder. There’s the librarian, looming tall over me, and my blood ran cold. Nothing makes a 14-15-year-old me scared quite like a 50-something neckbeard suddenly standing over me as if he was about to deal a death blow after I had insulted his mother’s prowess in the bedroom. He told me, out loud so everyone can hear, that I am no longer allowed to use the library computers, and if I was caught on them, I would receive detention.”