School cybersecurity threats: People ‘reporting it more’

Eric Schmidt is chief information security officer at Butler University. He speaks about cybersecurity on Aug. 23, 2017. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new court date is now set for a teenage girl accused of making threats on social media against students and staff at Warren Central High School.

24-Hour News 8 learned the 16-year-old girl in this case is facing two counts of intimidation. She appeared in juvenile court earlier this week for an initial hearing.

Investigators have not said if she was a student at Warren Central.

It was an alarming post on social media that caught the attention of parents, students, and staff at the high school.

24-Hour News 8 talked to a cybersecurity expert about the case.

“I think that we’re seeing more probably because people are knowledgeable of it and reporting it more,” said Eric Schmidt, who is the chief information security officer at Butler University.

Just days after the post first appeared on Instagram, police arrested a 16-year-old girl by tracking her internet protocol address.

Police said the teen confessed to making those threats and even used a picture of a boy she found on the internet.

“I mean that’s the 21st century, right? That’s where we are right now. We deal with internet threats. We deal with that virtual kind of threat,” he said.

Schmidt has years of experience in cybersecurity and is familiar with cases like this one.

“I spent many years as a federal law enforcement agent doing that exact kind of investigation and I know how long it takes so it doesn’t shock me at all,” he said.

This is the second arrest in less than a month involving social media threats against central Indiana schools. Earlier this month, federal authorities arrested a California man for making similar threats against students at Plainfield schools.

Schmidt believes some cases may take longer than others to solve.

“You have to gather so much evidence and you want to make sure you meticulously gather that evidence all the way through because it’s not a simple physical thread,” he said. “You sometimes have to go — I don’t know how far they had to go through with the Plainfield incident but they may have to go through multiple states.”

Schmidt said he believes it’s always best to talk with your children about social media and what they can or can’t do online.

As for the teen in the Warren Central case, court documents show she has since been released to her parents.

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