LAUSD Stops Home Use of iPads After Students Hack Devices in One Week

The Los Angeles Unified School District is halting the home use of Ipads after it took students at Theodore Roosevelt High school only one week to hack the devices. 300 students were able to bypass the security so they could surf the web freely using their school-issued iPads, raising concerns about plans to distribute tablets to all students in the district. 

“Outside of the district’s network … a user is free to download content and applications and browse the Internet without restriction,” two senior administrators said in a memo to the Board of education and L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy. “As student safety is of paramount concern, breach of the … system must not occur.”

Roosevelt students revealed their hacking technique: delete their personal profile information. With their profile deleted, students were able to tweet, Facebook and stream music via Pandora.

The Los Angeles Times obtained a confidential memo written by L.A. Unified School District Police Chief Steven Zipperman, who suggested to senior staff that the district might consider delaying distribution of the devices.

“I’m guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices,” Zipperman wrote. “I want to prevent a ‘runaway train’ scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the roll-out.”

The hacking incident has many questioning whether proper preparations are in place to institute the $1-billion tablet initiative, which is meant to put an iPad in the hands of every student the nation’s second-largest school system within a year. 

Roosevelt High was among the first to distribute them. Similar problems have also been reported at Westchester High and the Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences in Granada Hills.