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Criminal Refresh of the F5 Degree

This article (another) made me chuckle. How the heck that’s criminal, rather than just juvenile is beyond me.

For those wondering F5 makes a browser reload a webpage. Presumably the intent is to overload the school website. Anyone who knows enough about computers to turn one on would find this quote exceptionally funny.

“It’s a crime and it is important we take this seriously … especially for school officials … it could have done a tremendous amount of damage,” said Canton City Prosecutor Frank Fronchione.

Somebody should have told him the worst realistic case was a crash due to high load (which is fixed by a reboot as any site that’s been slashdotted or diggdotted knows). A hard drive crash isn’t really any more likely under such circumstances since F5 would reload the same page, and done by many users, hence in the disk cache for performance purposes. And even if, a hard drive crash would be worst case, though not truly realistic. Overheating? If that were the case I’d kill a computer a week for high load. Odds are the site would have just slowed and stopped responding for a few minutes.

If that was really as damaging as he wants people to think, sites like Slashdot and Digg would be criminal to operate, as they are both known for crashing sites due to load (and the butt of many jokes as a result).

Sounds like a school trying to take attention off of other problems, by focusing on this. Though it would be comical to try and prove this being able to cause a “tremendous amount of damage” in court. Sounds like something you say in hopes of getting your name in the paper for doing something. I’d bet someone did warn him that the “damage” potential is trivial, if applicable. But newspapers don’t find “trivial damage” to be a buzz word. So if you want a mention in the press, you need to spice things up.

I wonder how many real crimes were committed at that school while the cops were busy arresting the student slashdotter.

Seems like slashdot not only picked up the story, but slashdotted the site! Brilliant. Now we get to see the prosecutor indite slashdot!

Will the stupidity ever end?

2 replies on “Criminal Refresh of the F5 Degree”

Why is performing a DOS attack using the F5 key any better than performing one using a botnet? Leaving aside a discussion of what a sensible severity of punishment is, I don’t think there’s any doubt that the guy is guilty. He admitted that he had malicious intent.

And that’s the difference between Slashdot and him. If Slashdot links to you, they don’t do it to bring down your site – that’s not their intent. His intent was to crash the server.

@Gerv: my biggest problem is the slander used (“tremendous amount of damage”). That’s 99.997% likely to be complete BS. and 0.00299% likely to be exadurated.

Another part of my objection is how things here in the US are being blown out of proportion simply to make an arresting officer, or prosecutor look good. This being a prime example. This has become somewhat of a trend over the years.

Yet another part, is the “Zero Tolerance” BS that’s plagued US schools for a while, causing silly incidents to have severe punishment, but severe incidents still get ignored (it’s about public relations more than anything).

Then there’s the issue of liability. If this is worth “tremendous” damage, imagine what slashdot is liable for (remember the slashdot effect is well known, and allowing harm is illegal and makes you liable).

There are so many things wrong with this.

While that kid was arrested, there was likely someone else in that juristiction being assaulted or harassed by bullies… of course no arrests happen for that. That’s only a threat of bodily harm. Not a crashed computer.

This is partially a “society sucks” type post, so I can see why someone from abroad may not have made all those connections as problems in the US don’t always mirror that of overseas society (a big reason why TV sitcoms that touch upon social issues tend to not do good trans-atlantic).

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