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Teen cancels school with 'spoofed' email

By Megan Brantley, mbrantley@wcyb.com
Published On: Apr 26 2013 02:11:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2013 01:21:18 PM CDT

Hawkins County Director of Schools Charlotte Britton was surprised on February 4 when she heard on the news that her school system would be closed the next day when it wasn't supposed to be.

HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. -

Hawkins County, Tennessee Director of Schools Charlotte Britton was surprised on February 4 when she heard on the news that her school system would be closed the next day when it wasn't supposed to be.

"It was explained to me [news stations] had received two emails: one from Adrian Smith and one was addressed like it was sent from me," said Britton.

Britton says the system was set to be on a two-hour delay, not closed altogether. She says neither she nor Smith wrote the emails and she immediately took action. "Any time that the security measures have been compromised, of course it is a concern for the Hawkins County School System and other surrounding systems at the same time," she said.

"When she called us we started issuing subpoenas to several different things," said Hawkins County detective Daniel Byington.

Detective Byington tells us they asked for IP addresses and it led them straight to a 17-year-old student. Byington says the spoofing website used allowed the minor to write an email and send it with Britton's email address as the sender. "If you know [an official's] email address you can type it in and send it to somebody, and they'll think it's coming from the [official]," he said.

Byington says this is the first time he's seen anything like it and knows it won’t be the last. "It has the potential to be very dangerous and very scary situation," said Byington.

Byington says the sheriff's department is working to make sure similar 'spoofing' can't happen anymore. "We're trying to figure out the best way we can protect the public," he said.

The juvenile is charged with two counts of criminal impersonation and will appear in court on Monday.