Former School Computer Manager Pleads Guilty to Cyberattack Last Summer

John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse. (Beyond My Ken, Creative Commons.))

An Ayer man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Boston to committing a cyberattack against Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School’s computer network.

Thirty-year-old Conor LaHiff, who worked at the school before being terminated last June, pleaded guilty to unauthorized damage to protected computers. U.S. Chief District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for March 20. Among other conditions of release, Saylor required that LaHiff notify prospective employers of his guilty plea, after learning that LaHiff had obtained a similar position at another public high school. As WHAV previously reported, LaHiff was charged on Nov. 29.

LaHiff was employed as a desktop and network manager at Whittier Tech. After he was fired, LaHiff 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 deactivated more than 1,400 other Apple accounts and other IT administrative accounts and disabled the school’s private branch phone system, which left the school’s telephone service unavailable for approximately 24 hours.

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