IT manager deactivated thousands of network accounts after being fired from Mass. school, feds say

A Massachusetts man deactivated thousands of student, faculty, and staff network accounts and sabotaged the phone system after he was fired from his role as information technology manager at a local high school, federal investigators said.

Conor LaHiff, 30, of Ayer, agreed to plead guilty in connection with a cyberattack this past June and will be called to federal court in Boston at a later date to face a charge of unauthorized damage to protected computers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Massachusetts.

LaHiff was employed as a desktop and network manager at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill until he was terminated in June 2023, court documents show. After he was fired, LaHiff allegedly used his administrative privileges to wreak havoc on the school’s computer network.

In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, “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 left the school’s phone service unavailable for approximately 24 hours.”

The charge of unauthorized damage to protected computers calls for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office didn’t say when LaHiff will be called to court.

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