Judge Sentences Former Whittier Tech Network Manager for 2023 Cyberattack Against School

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

A former desktop and network manager at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School’s computer network was sentenced Tuesday to one month in prison and three years’ supervised release for committing a cyberattack last year against the school’s computer network.

Thirty-year-old Conor LaHiff of Ayer man was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV and will serve the first 12 months of his supervised release in home confinement. He was also ordered to pay $34,110 in restitution. As WHAV reported previously, LaHiff pleaded guilty last December to unauthorized damage to protected computers.

“Individuals who exploit their specialized knowledge to retaliate against a former employer through costly and dangerous cyberattacks will be held accountable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement counterparts to protect the security of the computer network we rely upon every day.”

Jodi Cohen, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, added “Committing a cyber intrusion to settle a score with your former employer is a bad idea, but that’s exactly what Conor LaHiff did, and in doing so, he deactivated a high school’s phone system along with thousands of network user accounts.”

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 phone service unavailable for approximately18 hours. After being fired, LaHiff had obtained a similar position at another public high school.

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