Feds Charge Former Whittier Tech Employee with June Cyberattack on School Systems

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News.)

A former employee of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School agreed to plead guilty Wednesday to a federal charge of a cyberattack on the school this past summer.

According to court documents, 30-year-old Conor LaHiff was employed as a desktop and network manager at Whittier Tech until he was fired in June. After his termination, LaHiff allegedly used his administrative privileges to deactivate and delete thousands of Apple IDs from the school’s Apple School Manager account—software used to manage student, faculty and staff information technology resources. LaHiff also allegedly deactivated more than 1,400 other Apple accounts and other IT administrative accounts and disabled the school’s private branch phone system, which knocked out the school’s telephone service for about 24 hours.

LaHiff, of Ayer, was charged directly by the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy with unauthorized damage to protected computers. He will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. The allegations were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division, according to Levy and Jodi Cohen, FBI special agent in charge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mackenzie A. Queenin of the Securities, Financial and Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

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