Former student charged In cyber attack

Published: Apr. 18, 2018 at 6:23 PM EDT
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An attack on Ingham Intermediate School District's online network and the person police say is responsible was one of its own students. The incident happened in February 2017.

On Wednesday News 10's Alani Letang learned more on that student, who now faces criminal charges after shutting down the district's internet servers.

Police say 19-year old Brandon Barlett targeted the district in a ransomware attack. That attack didn't put students or staff in danger but did affect the day to day operations of the school district.

"A couple hours in the morning a couple in the afternoon over a period of ten days is between 30-40 hours that the internet was down. The impact of teaching and learning of students and the productivity of our school employees," said Scott Koenigsknecht- Ingham Intermediate School District Superintendent

The Ingham Intermediate superintendent told me there was no data breach of personal or professional information. But that didn't stop him from contacting police who discovered

Brandon Bartlette used the districts internal network to attack its internet access.

"It's like trying to funnel 100 people through one doorway in rapid small amount of time it clogs the doorway almost like a traffic jam," said Sgt. Dan Cook, Michigan State Police.

Koenigsknech said Bartlette demanded ransom in order to stop the traffic jam.

"I received an email directly from an anonymous email address, if there is such a thing, requesting 10 bitcoin in order for the attacks to stop," said Koenigsknech

Whether it's genuine remorse or the possibility of doing seven years in a state prison... police say they got through to HIM.

"He was very cooperative with the investigation. I think he's learned his lesson from this incident and I don't seem him repeating anything similar."

Bartlett was once a student in the district's cybersecurity program where students learn all about computers.

He has been charged with four felonies.

But court documents show he agreed to plead guilty to two of those and the other two charges were dropped.

He is expected to be sentenced under the "holmes youthful trainee act". This act allows his record to be wiped clean if he stays out of trouble while he's on probation.

State police tell us they see a lot of attacks like this pulled off by students. That's because more and more young people are learning about computers and online scams.