Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Public safety

Hernando college student charged with hacking accounts

SPRING HILL — Pasco-Hernando State College student Amanda Yost blamed her boyfriend when she noticed that emails went missing on her account with the learning management website the school uses.

He liked to play World of Warcraft on her Asus laptop, and Yost, 20, thought the game had introduced a virus.

But after a multiweek investigation, Hernando County sheriff's detectives discovered that the hacker was a criminal justice technology student at the college named Allen Lockser.

Deputies reported that Lockser, 21, hacked into 20 students' accounts on Canvas, a site where students submit assignments and complete assessments, according to an arrest report. No personal information was compromised, but he submitted quizzes and deleted assignments, discussion posts and emails on five students' accounts.

Like most of the affected students, Yost didn't know Lockser. But Detective William Horvath said Lockser knew three of the students through the Sheriff's Office Explorer post, an organization for young adults interested in law enforcement careers that Lockser was involved in until October.

School officials and deputies were unsure of Lockser's motive.

Deputies arrested Lockser on 11 felony computer fraud charges. He was booked into jail Tuesday and released Wednesday after posting $1,100 bail. The college is taking disciplinary measures to address the situation, said spokeswoman Lucy Miller.

Attempts to contact Lockser were unsuccessful. At his Spring Hill home Thursday, his mother told a Bay News 9 reporter that her son apologizes and feels bad about the incident.

Lockser first accessed the accounts in April by typing random combinations until he cracked the passwords, Horvath said. Detectives linked the hacks to an IP address registered to Lockser's mother. Horvath explained that the address is static, meaning it stays the same with every use. More advanced hackers would use a dynamic IP address, which changes with every log-in.

"It was very easy to trace," Horvath said. "(Advanced hackers) would run so many different filters through that it would be difficult to get back to them."

Lockser had no criminal record, according to court records. He worked as a food and nutrition department employee at Powell Middle School in Spring Hill, Hernando schools spokesman Eric Williams said, adding that the district was aware of the arrest and could not comment further.

Lockser's hack cost the college at least $10,000 to investigate and correct, Miller said.

The school has increased security to ensure it doesn't happen again. Students must change their passwords to a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. If a student has questions about his or her account, information technology officials will make more rigorous checks to verify the student's identity, Miller said.

As for Yost, she's glad she can continue her education in business administration without interruption.

"I was upset because this is my future. It's my grades; it's my school," she said. "Now I can submit my work correctly."

Comments

Police searching for robber who hit three North Tampa hotels

TAMPA — Police believe the same armed man committed early morning robberies at three North Tampa hotels within half a mile of one another, the latest just before 4 a.m. Tuesday.In the latest heist, the robber pointed a gun at a clerk in the West Wing...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA — A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from female students at the school, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

TAMPA — A malfunctioning air conditioning unit sparked the fire that damaged several homes at the Brookshire Townhomes on Monday, authorities said.Investigators concluded the fire started on the back patio of unit B103 when the power supply of a cond...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Plant City boy, 12, dies in Mulberry crash as car turns into path of semi

MULBERRY — A 12-year-old Plant City boy died Tuesday when the car he was riding in turned into the path of a semitrailer on State Road 60, authorities said. Miguel Resendiz was riding in an eastbound BMW 328xi when its driver, 29-year-old Maricela Re...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

TAMPA — Police were searching Tuesday for a missing 15-year-old Plant City girl who disappeared from a Tampa girls school. Zoe Warren was last seen about 8 a.m. Monday at the PACE Center for Girls, 1933 E. Hillsborough Ave., where she attends school,...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Space heater likely cause of early-morning home fire in Valrico

Space heater likely cause of early-morning home fire in Valrico

VALRICO — A space heater is believed to be the cause of a home fire in Valrico on Tuesday morning.It took firefighters about 20 minutes to control the fire in a mobile home on Pierce Christie Drive, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.The ca...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Tampa forum focuses on reforming Florida’s juvenile justice system

TAMPA — Changing the way Florida treats juvenile offenders was the focus of Monday night’s public forum on criminal justice reform."We send more children to adult prison than any other state," said Raymer Maguire IV, manager of the ACLU’s Florida Cam...
Published: 12/12/17
Residents wonder what’s next after fire destroys Tampa apartments (with video)

Residents wonder what’s next after fire destroys Tampa apartments (with video)

TAMPA — When her apartment complex caught fire Monday afternoon, Peaches McIntyre grabbed her four children and baby stroller and ran outside.Hours later, she looked at the smoldering building with her 5-year-old autistic son, Choice Underwood, huggi...
Published: 12/11/17
Mother, sons lose everything in fire -- except her daughter’s urn

Mother, sons lose everything in fire -- except her daughter’s urn

ST. PETERSBURG — The day after a fire claimed most of Jahmeshia Jackson’s possessions, the 27-year-old mother returned to the house she and her sons had escaped, trying to salvage what she could. She hoped her washer and dryer still worked. But most ...
Published: 12/11/17
Tree trimmer shocked by power line in Clearwater, authorities say

Tree trimmer shocked by power line in Clearwater, authorities say

CLEARWATER — A 38-year-old tree trimmer is in critical condition after he was shocked by a power line Monday, according to Clearwater Fire & Rescue.Ernest Harlen, of Largo, was on a ladder cutting trees with a pole saw when he was shocked just before...
Published: 12/11/17