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HomeLatest NewsForest school staff member charged over data crime; child abuse material

Forest school staff member charged over data crime; child abuse material

Cybercrime Squad detectives have charged a man over allegedly deploying malware on Department of Education computers and capturing the personal information, including credit card details,  of school staff at The Forest High School in French Forest.  

Child abuse material, none connected with students at the school, was also allegedly located on the man’s computer.

In February 2024, detectives attached to State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad – with assistance from the Department of Education – commenced an investigation into reports malware was located on computers at a Sydney school, identified by Daily Telegraph as The Forest High School at Frenchs Forest. 

On Monday 4 March 2024, detectives spoke to a 28-year-old man and employee of the school at an address in Matraville, where they seized a phone and computer.

During a forensic examination of the phone, police allege they located an amount of child abuse material. The material was not linked to the school or any students.

Following further inquiries, about 9.25am today (Tuesday 26 March 2024), officers arrested the 28-year-old man at Maroubra Police Station.

“Teachers and staff at our schools are in a position of responsibility and privilege; and anyone that abuses that position will be dealt with accordingly by law enforcement.”

He was charged with unauthorised modification of data with intent to cause impairment, possess identity info to commit etc indictable, two counts of unauthorised function with intent serious offence (penalty<=10 y), and possess child abuse material.

The man was granted strict conditional bail to appear in Waverley Local Court on Wednesday 8 May 2024.

Police will allege in court the malware on the school computers were in various stages of development and deployment, with at least 41 members of staff having had their credentials captured, including their credit card details.

Commander of State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad, Detective Superintendent Matt Craft praised the Department of Education for identifying this issue early.

“The Department of Education cyber team have a robust system able to detect these types of offences, and it’s through their diligent work that this issue was reported early, and the offender detained quickly,” Det Supt Craft said.

“Teachers and staff at our schools are in a position of responsibility and privilege; and anyone that abuses that position will be dealt with accordingly by law enforcement.”

Manly Observer has queries with there Department of Education over the investigation. 

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