How an A-grade prank by a hacker closed a school for a day

Pupil suspended after message on website told parents classes were cancelled due to snow

In days gone by it would have been Jennings and Darbishire making one of their "frantic bishes".

Or Richmal Crompton's William outwitting members of the posh boys' rival gang, the Hubert Laneites.

Now, though, the schoolboy prankster has entered the digital world – and perpetrated one of the more audacious deceptions.

It was Saturday, 4 February, and the first snowflakes of 2012 were falling all around London.

Doubtless, some pupils fervently hoped it would lead to their school being closed the following Monday morning, on the grounds that it was too treacherous to open.

The trouble is that their school, the Jewish Free School in Harrow, north London, was quick off the mark – and posted a message on its website telling parents that it would be classes as usual at the start of the following week.

Some pupils, it would appear, had other ideas.

Within hours, a computer hacker had managed to bring down the school's website, leaving parents unable to check if the school would be open as usual on Monday.

But not content with that, the hackers are then said to have created a fake email purporting to come from the school and telling parents that the school would be closed due to heavy snow.

Many older pupils were absent from the school on the Monday owing to the success of the hack and the spreading of the fake email, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

Students on social networking sites were openly discussing the plan to take down the website, urging the hackers to keep it closed. One said: "Kids were going crazy over this... Students who they were not even friendly with managed to find out about what they had done."

But as with many of the schoolboy pranksters from literature, the culprits have not escaped completely unscathed.

In this regard, remember Billy Bunter, the Fat Owl of the Remove, who was forever being found out after attempting to pilfer tuck from his fellow pupils.

In his day, it was six of the best from the headmaster and loud cries of "yarooh" (hooray backwards) from Bunter himself.

That punishment is obviously not applicable today, though.

In the case of the hacker, the Jewish Chronicle reports that the school has identified some of those believed to be behind the website's hacking and that at least one pupil has been suspended.

The school was closed for the half-term yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Senior Textiles / Fashion Technician

£22000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To contribute to the day-to-da...

Recruitment Genius: Health and Social Care NVQ Assessor

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It is also essential that you p...

Recruitment Genius: ICT Infrastructure Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre scho...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£30000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An independent boys' school sit...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy