Video: LA students outsmart $1 billion iPad program security … in a week

posted at 5:21 pm on September 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

You’d think a billion dollars might get enough security to lock down an iPad for a week against a determined hacker.  Los Angeles Unified School District discovered that it doesn’t — at least not for them.  After spending a huge amount of cash on the electronic devices, high-school students had them unlocked in a week for all the Internet browsing they wanted to do:

A $1 billion program to distribute iPads to students in the Los Angeles Unified School District(LAUSD) was under increased scrutiny Wednesday after reports that some devices were hacked for non-school-related purposes.

KNX 1070′s Pete Demetriou reports hundreds of kids at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights and two other campuses breached the security locks within a week of receiving the tablets. …

LAUSD officials have halted the use of the district’s iPads at students’ homes use until further notice and are considering installing additional security software on the tablets, according to reports.

One Roosevelt student said he doesn’t expect that solution to last long in the face of determined tinkering and hacking.

The first question really shouldn’t be about security, but about judgment.  LAUSD isn’t among the better-performing school districts in the country, not by a long shot, and they have lots of other problems to solve with their cash.  While switching to an electronic platform might be a good idea rather than spend money on traditional textbooks (which could be at least as costly as an iPad for one student, arguably), that kind of capital initiative seems out of place in a school district as dysfunctional as LAUSD, and in a state as bankrupt as California.

Now the district has to rethink its security after laying out more cash than most school districts see in a year for what turned into e-toys for the students.  How much more money will that cost, and how long will those solutions last?  Don’t ask Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino, who ran this particular project and has headed up LAUSD’s Common Core project, as he’s bailing out of LAUSD by the end of the year. Hope he had fun spending their money first.

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When will these fools learn nothing that us normal folks have access to can and WILL be hacked. If there is enough motivation to do so it will be done. Even if there is no real purpose to hack it some will just because they can.

watertown on September 26, 2013 at 5:25 PM

O BTW… ObamaCare! Enjoy your info getting hacked and shared!

watertown on September 26, 2013 at 5:26 PM

that kind of capital initiative seems out of place in a school district as dysfunctional as LAUSD, and in a state as bankrupt as California.

Do you think they became bankrupt by making good decisions?

Fenris on September 26, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Thing is, if you really want to lock down an iPad (or any Apple device) from “a determined hacker”, the side effect will be all those Apple-using lunkheads also being locked out. =]

Jeddite on September 26, 2013 at 5:31 PM

These are the people bringing Common Core to a school near you…

d1carter on September 26, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Which crony capitalists benefitted from this common-core driven purchase of iPads?

GaltBlvnAtty on September 26, 2013 at 5:32 PM

If these students can actually break out into the internet, there is a serious danger that they might actually learn something useful.

Can’t be having stuff like that happen. Not in California. Uh uh.

trigon on September 26, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Hey, at least the students learned something!

rbj on September 26, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Just wait until these kids figure out they can hack into celebrities electronic medical records via Obamacare…

“Chris Mathews has whaaat?”

MichaelGabriel on September 26, 2013 at 5:39 PM

…or the school district could have given them Android based tablets for half the money and said “keep em and do what you want.”

southsideironworks on September 26, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Of course they’re going to improve academic ability by buying tech toys, right?

I’d love to know what their replacement rate at the end of the year is.

chimney sweep on September 26, 2013 at 5:40 PM

I am not sure of its hack, the article and comments make it sound like a reset feature on the ipad allows them easily return the machine to its original functions.

rob verdi on September 26, 2013 at 5:42 PM

LA students outsmart $1 billion iPad program security … in a week

Golly. It’s inconceivable that anyone could have predicted this!

locomotivebreath1901 on September 26, 2013 at 5:45 PM

I admit that I’m bitter because, when I was in high school (and junior high too), the school district I was in was basically completely broke, and there was no money for ANYTHING. Students had to supply their own paper, pencils bluebooks, and everything else. I took a “mechanical drawing” (i.e. drafting) class in tenth grade, and learned to my dismay that each student had to buy and supply his or her own graph paper, mechanical pencil, protractor, t-square, etc. I didn’t have the money for that, so i had to make do with scrounged leftovers. In almost every other class, our textbooks were from the 1950s, torn and tattered, with broken spines. I was even on a co-ed varsity team (tennis), and we didn’t have school uniforms, and had to play in our street clothes even in tournaments, because the school couldn’t afford uniforms. We had to bring our own rackets, too. Etc. etc.

Now I see kids in failing school districts these days and they all seem to have free computer laptops, free iPads, all sort of over-the-top goodies completely unimaginable to us. And yet — we in the old days got a better education, and didn’t complain. Now, the students are nearly illiterate and yet whine about how underprivileged they are.

Zombie on September 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

I’m confused…didn’t they post rules and have regulations against this type of usage. And kids still did it? I just find that odd…

Well maybe if they issue additional rules and regulations the wrong doers will finally start obeying the rules. I think that’s the way to go…oh and of course don’t bother punishing those who did break the laws, that’s just too much work and won’t make a difference anyway.

nextgen_repub on September 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

They can get android tablets for less than some of their text books.

jhffmn on September 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

No worries, Jaime Aquino will land another job in another school district and get MORE money than he’s being paid now.

GarandFan on September 26, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Sadly, when these students scan the net for porn, they’ll learn more than what their unionist socialist indoctrinators provide them in the classroom.

TeaPartyNation on September 26, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Video: LA students outsmart $1 billion iPad program security … in a week

.
Ouch! I thought this was a story about black hat hackers in Louisiana.

ExpressoBold on September 26, 2013 at 5:55 PM

I am not sure of its hack, the article and comments make it sound like a reset feature on the ipad allows them easily return the machine to its original functions.

rob verdi

All depends on what the students are doing. If they’re just using proxies or other web services that allow you to get around blocked sites, sure.

However, iPads like other flash-drive devices can be ‘bricked’ ( ie useful as a brick) if you play around with the OS. ‘Jailbreaking’ the Apple software is old hat and fairly safe, but with the additional security, the chances of kids permanently breaking the pads increases.

This is folly. Chasing a fashion statement with taxpayer money is corrupt, stupid, and wasteful.

chimney sweep on September 26, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Unbelievably stupid. Just breathtaking. What a waste. You just know the genius behind this thought, Hey!, the taxpayer money we spend is going to a California company, so we’ll get it all back in taxes! It’s a win-win!

John the Libertarian on September 26, 2013 at 5:59 PM

They can get android tablets for less than some of their text books.

jhffmn on September 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Yeah, and the kids will just flash a fresh copy of android onto it like they did with the ipad removing all limitations.

There is absolutely no reason at all for any school district anywhere to be supplying kids with tablets and laptops on our dime.

None, and im happy this blew up in their faces.

Spliff Menendez on September 26, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Well, LA Unified didn’t spend $1 billion on security – $500 million went to make the schools WiFi spots. The other $500 million (not counting the $28 million for unbudgeted keyboards) is the iPads and software for the 650,000 students.

Assuming Apple gave LAUSD a 10% discount, LAUSD pumped out roughly $150 million in software. I rather suspect that security is half of that, which is not an insignificant amount.

Steve Eggleston on September 26, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Apple computers are toys for wealthy people. People serious about security and privacy use Windows or Linux. And even then the NSA …

thuja on September 26, 2013 at 6:01 PM

However, iPads like other flash-drive devices can be ‘bricked’ ( ie useful as a brick) if you play around with the OS. ‘Jailbreaking’ the Apple software is old hat and fairly safe, but with the additional security, the chances of kids permanently breaking the pads increases.

It took me five seconds to open a new Web page, type in the seven characters “iOS hack” and get this results page:

http://tinyurl.com/pq4t3hg

Voilà! Instructions on how to safely jailbreak an iPad.

Five seconds.

No bricking risk, no hacking skills required. Easy as pie. And I’m not nearly as computer savvy as a teenager.

Zombie on September 26, 2013 at 6:03 PM

It kind of makes me feel better about the ingenuity of our high school students. ;)

jix on September 26, 2013 at 6:03 PM

The district (and every other school) ought to have said “Have at it!” and used the money saved for something else, or (gasp!) returned it to the taxpayers.

Once you tell a kid it’s okay to do something, then it pretty much rules them out of ever doing that. :)

Just ask any parent…….

TKindred on September 26, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Apple computers are toys for wealthy people. People serious about security and privacy use Windows or Linux. And even then the NSA …

thuja on September 26, 2013 at 6:01 PM

ReWrite™ engaged to diss Redmond – Windows is not exactly secure or private.

Steve Eggleston on September 26, 2013 at 6:07 PM

These kids can go to work for Apple – or become hackers…
They don’t need no stink in high school diploma.
I am sure the kids are already selling these on the black market.

At least they will be able to make a living after their socialist education fails them.

redguy on September 26, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Apple computers are toys for wealthy people. People serious about security and privacy use Windows or Linux. And even then the NSA …

thuja on September 26, 2013 at 6:01 PM

ReWrite™ engaged to diss Redmond – Windows is not exactly secure or private.

Steve Eggleston on September 26, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Nothing is secure & private.

redguy on September 26, 2013 at 6:09 PM

I admit that I’m bitter because, when I was in high school (and junior high too), the school district I was in was basically completely broke, and there was no money for ANYTHING. Students had to supply their own paper, pencils bluebooks, and everything else. I took a “mechanical drawing” (i.e. drafting) class in tenth grade, and learned to my dismay that each student had to buy and supply his or her own graph paper, mechanical pencil, protractor, t-square, etc. I didn’t have the money for that, so i had to make do with scrounged leftovers. In almost every other class, our textbooks were from the 1950s, torn and tattered, with broken spines. I was even on a co-ed varsity team (tennis), and we didn’t have school uniforms, and had to play in our street clothes even in tournaments, because the school couldn’t afford uniforms. We had to bring our own rackets, too. Etc. etc.

Now I see kids in failing school districts these days and they all seem to have free computer laptops, free iPads, all sort of over-the-top goodies completely unimaginable to us. And yet — we in the old days got a better education, and didn’t complain. Now, the students are nearly illiterate and yet whine about how underprivileged they are.

Zombie on September 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Yes, the students whine, but the whine cheerleaders are the unions & the administrations.

I used to drive a school bus, & official employee meetings sometimes turned into GOP-bashing get-out-the-vote-for-the-override events.

itsnotaboutme on September 26, 2013 at 6:11 PM

According to Michelle Malkin, Los Angeles Unified School District purchased many of the iPads from a Jeb Bush crony and paid well over retail:

http://michellemalkin.com/2013/09/20/jeb-bushs-latest-common-core-snit-fit/

bw222 on September 26, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Give these students an ‘A’ in computer science.

meci on September 26, 2013 at 6:12 PM

If these students can actually break out into the internet, there is a serious danger that they might actually learn something useful.

Can’t be having stuff like that happen. Not in California. Uh uh.

trigon on September 26, 2013 at 5:34 PM

The most useful thing these kids will likely learn on the net is where the next flash mob is going to meet and which business they’re going to rob, or which of their classmates took a naked selfie or made a sex tape of themselves and their teacher.

AZCoyote on September 26, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Is it me or does everything that the Left touches turns to $h!t?

EA_MAN on September 26, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Is it me or does everything that the Left touches turns to $h!t?

EA_MAN on September 26, 2013 at 6:21 PM

.
It’s not you; they don’t know dick about human nature.

ExpressoBold on September 26, 2013 at 6:35 PM

There is absolutely no reason at all for any school district anywhere to be supplying kids with tablets and laptops on our dime.

None, and im happy this blew up in their faces.

Spliff Menendez on September 26, 2013 at 5:59 PM

The only reason is to comply with Common Core mandates. Here’s a story about my district spending about $2 Million on iPads for every student and letting them take them home. Note there is no mention of ongoing cost, insurance, etc. I should also note that the iPad is only one of the tools…more computers and broadband width are necessary for the computerized testing.

And Spliff is right. This shouldn’t be done on our dime. But Common Core was adopted and is being implemented with nary a vote from the taxpayers. Or the state legislatures. We’re being mandated to spend money we don’t have on programs we don’t want.

http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com/2013/05/binoculars-or-common-core-which-choice.html

manateespirit on September 26, 2013 at 6:36 PM

I guess that one guy who suggested they buy “Kindle”s is feeling a bit smug right about now.

This is just so typical of what passes for thinking in the Progressive Socialist State of Kalifornia.

Another Drew on September 26, 2013 at 6:38 PM

TKindred on September 26, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Once they cash the check from the taxpayer, that money is the exclusive property of the public-employee unions.

Another Drew on September 26, 2013 at 6:42 PM

watertown on September 26, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Exactly. I taught in a S. Cal high for nearly 25 years. They installed laptops in all the classes in the late 90′s. Supposedly they had security so that the Students couldn’t go to non approved sites. One of my better students said let me show you how we get around security and she did. She used authorized sites to get to unauthorized sites. I had to smile at the foolishness of the district.

chemman on September 26, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Crony Capitalists here?

http://4lakidsnews.blogspot.com/2013/09/aquino-in-rear-view-mirror-broad.html

Aquino worked for America’s Choice, which is owned by Pearson, a huge educational company that sells software and other materials.

For use on iPads, I’m sure!

PattyJ on September 26, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Which crony capitalists benefited from this common-core driven purchase of iPads?

GaltBlvnAtty on September 26, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Exactly. You would think that Leftists that “care” about budgets and taxing the “middle class” would be concerned about crony-capitalism, corruption, rent-seeking, looting, etc. and our tax dollars. But, judging by their actions, they’re not.

The only thing they care about are their emotions: making themselves feel better about themselves. Spending a cool billion on cutting edge iPads makes them feel like they’re doing the “right thing.” Actual results are not important. The goal has been achieved: self-congratulation.

visions on September 26, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Zombie on September 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

I went to a school district that was in good shape financially and we had to bring our own materials (pens, pencils, notebooks, paper, graph paper, blue books and slide rules) to class. In sports they did supply the uniforms but we had to buy our own PE gear and training uniforms (in my case running shoes, shorts and tee shirts).
My guess is that is why they were in good shape financially. They didn’t spend $’s on things that parents should have supplied. A lot of us students would pitch in for the ones whose parents couldn’t afford the basics.

chemman on September 26, 2013 at 7:10 PM

I’m a retired teacher. The nano-second I heard about this program I cringed. #FAIL here we come. The whole iPad iDea was so libtard demokkkrats would have a talking line in their reelection speeches. Not to mention that the new KindleFireHDX blows it out of the water.

Mojave Mark on September 26, 2013 at 7:18 PM

Most brilliant use of technology in the schools since Detroit issued small children laptops that they were to take back and forth from home to school…… through the ghetto.

Happy Nomad on September 26, 2013 at 7:18 PM

What’s the big deal? Just put up “Hacking-Free Zone” signs, and . . . problem solved. Jeez.

ugottabekiddingme on September 26, 2013 at 7:19 PM

iFail

faraway on September 26, 2013 at 7:29 PM

… and you thought the experts in ‘higher education’ were NOT totally incompetant in everything they do …

Freddy on September 26, 2013 at 10:23 PM

and to think I learned to read, write and do math without the help of an ipad!

as a software developer with a degree in aerospace engineering, I can only imagine how smart these kids are, what with the school district spending a billion dollars just on ipads! surely that increases their ability to learn, much more that just books, paper and pencils, right? right??

jetch on September 26, 2013 at 11:40 PM

iPads, because education was impossible for thousands of years until now.

shick on September 27, 2013 at 12:16 AM

what ever happened to low bid?, maybe if they did they might have gotten something at a reasonable cost. If they spend that kind of money for Apple anything, they should have gotten it almost at cost.

RonK on September 27, 2013 at 5:36 AM

I admit that I’m bitter because, when I was in high school (and junior high too), the school district I was in was basically completely broke, and there was no money for ANYTHING. Students had to supply their own paper, pencils bluebooks, and everything else. I took a “mechanical drawing” (i.e. drafting) class in tenth grade, and learned to my dismay that each student had to buy and supply his or her own graph paper, mechanical pencil, protractor, t-square, etc. I didn’t have the money for that, so i had to make do with scrounged leftovers.

Zombie on September 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

This complaint has always cheesed me off. My wife talked about this, too (she is from CA, mostly). I had never heard of a school providing the students with writing utensils and paper growing up. NEVER. Those are your consumables, and you need to pay for them. There were programs to help out less fortunate students, but it was charity, not the school district giving out paper and pens to everyone. Of course, I grew up when and where personal responsibility was still taught.

GWB on September 27, 2013 at 9:36 AM

If these students can actually break out into the internet, there is a serious danger that they might actually learn something useful.

trigon on September 26, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Nuh-uh, don’t think so–you’re assuming that some sizable portion of ‘em will be looking for something, erm, useful.

“Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is to uselessness what Henry Ford was to the automobile.” — Rich Lowry

bandarlog on September 27, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Simple fix for the hack.

They bypass the security, they lose the iPad.

taznar on September 30, 2013 at 9:12 PM