This kid is going places, and he’s probably lucky JAIL isn’t one of them after this. A high school senior in Illinois named Minh Duong recently pulled off the greatest “Rickroll” prank off all time. That’s where you trick someone into watching Rick Astley sing “Never Gonna Give You Up”. But he didn’t just trick one person.
As his senior prank, he managed to Rickroll his entire SCHOOL DISTRICT all at once. District 214 is right outside Chicago and has over 11,000 students. Back in April, he hacked into their network, and played the video on EVERY television screen and projector at six different schools.
A few kids posted about it on social media when it happened. But we’re just finding out the true scale of it now, because Minh wrote a blog post about how he pulled it off. We won’t get into all the technical stuff. But he’d been planning it for several years, and recruited a handful of other students to help. They called it operation “Big Rick.”
They didn’t want to interrupt classes, or do it when kids might be taking a test. So they made sure to avoid specific dates and times.
At 10:55 AM on April 30th, all of the TVs and projectors in every class turned on. The district has a blue box called an AvediaPlayer connected to every TV that lets you turn it on and off remotely, and control what plays. So that’s how he did it.
At first, there was a message on the screen that said an important announcement was coming. And there was a timer counting down from five minutes. When it got to zero, EVERYONE was waiting to see what the announcement was, then immediately realized it was a prank when Rick Astley came on.
10 minutes after that, the entire system reverted to how it was working before. But they didn’t stop there. At 2:05 PM, all the school bells went off at the end of a class, just like they should, but instead of a bell sound, they played the SONG again. So everyone got Rickrolled a second time.
After that, Minh immediately sent a 26-page report to the school district, outlining exactly how he and his hacker friends did it. And because of that, the district decided not to press charges. The director of technology actually THANKED them for finding a flaw in their system.
Minh graduated a few months later. He’s now at the University of Illinois studying cybersecurity.
(Here’s a video from one of the classrooms, and here’s a photo of Minh.)