Never underestimate the power of an 8-year-old. In fact, never underestimate the power of any kid. Period. While kids are like blank slates that are gradually filled up with information and skills, they often have one amazing advantage over us adults, and that is thinking outside the box, unrestricted by the cultural, social, and whatever other norms that frame the way we think.

If you do end up underestimating a kid, just brace yourself for impact as your kid might somehow end up finding a Zoom exploit and be deliberately milking it as much as possible to get out of school all the while driving you, your kid’s teacher, your friends, and your family bonkers as you try to figure out why Zoom refuses to work for her for weeks!

While physical classrooms today are mostly empty and unused, online classroom are full of eager students

Image credits: Christine Cowen (not the actual photo)

Well, OK, not all are eager, as explains this Twitter user in his story about how his 8-year-old niece found a Zoom exploit and used it to skip school

Image credits: mfpiccolo

Meet Mike Piccolo, a software developer and entrepreneur from Sacramento, California who recently went to Twitter to share a story of how his 8-year-old niece was supposed to have Zoom classes, but kept running into some technical problems.

In particular, said technical problems were the fact that she was constantly being logged out, and when she attempted to log back in, it would say that her password was incorrect.

As soon as Zoom would stop working, Mike’s sister would jump in and help troubleshoot things. Each time she’d do so, there’d be no result, even after an hour or so of trying to fix it.

It starts with mysterious technical issues with Zoom—it logs the niece out mid-class and doesn’t let back in

Image credits: mfpiccolo

After several tries (spanning across several days), the teacher was actively involved. After hours of trying to figure the mystery out, they decided to try doing the same thing from a friend’s house. Long story short, the same issue happened.

It didn’t stop there. Zoom support was also contacted, hours were spent figuring it all out, and yet again to no avail. Soon after the kid would log into a Zoom classroom, it would eventually log her out and refuse to let her log in.

This continues for days, and eventually involves the mom, the teacher, and even Zoom tech support

It became such a huge problem, lasting weeks, that the mom resorted to homeschooling

But, they wanted to try again with Zoom, and this time around the niece was caught slipping

Image credits: mfpiccolo

Weeks later, Mike’s sister wasn’t even trying to do Zoom schooling any more; they reverted to the good old homeschooling method, which was impeccable, but surely not a long-term solution.

So they tried again: the 8-year-old was sent back to the sister’s friend’s house because the whole logging out issue was less of an occurrence there.

Lo and behold, the 8-year-old runs into the same problem. Except, this time the friend happens to notice what went down—the kid logged out herself.

Turns out, the niece was logging herself out and abusing an exploit in Zoom to keep her logged out

Image credits: mfpiccolo

When confronted about it, the young lady explained that it wasn’t working well, so she was trying to fix it by logging out. The friend was skeptical, and she actually caught on to the ruse, but was nonchalant and simply left the room.

Several spy sessions later, she figured out what was going on—the cat was out of the bag. Turns out, the 8-year-old figured out an exploit in the system and was using it to her advantage.

See, whenever you try to log into Zoom and provide an incorrect password, there is a safety feature that locks the account. However, instead of saying “your account is locked” it says “incorrect password.”

And each time the account is locked this way, the lock period gets progressively longer. She has effectively found a way to stay out of school without raising suspicion that it was her doing.

Said exploit involves entering the password loads of times until the account gets locked, except it doesn’t say that

Instead, the system blames the password—a mystery that took 8+ adults and 3 weeks to figure out

What the niece did was not good, sure, but Piccolo was proud of her—turns out she has a bright future as a quality assurance specialist at the very least

Image credits: mfpiccolo

So, for a whole three weeks, Mike’s sister, her friend, the teacher, Zoom tech support, and others were being led on a magnificent journey of pain and torture trying to figure what was going on with the computer, when reality showed that it was all the doing of a very clever 8-year-old. Bravo!

Despite all of this, Mike was pretty proud of her. As someone who works in the IT industry, why wouldn’t he be? This is, if anything, a quality assurance specialist in the making, and a talented one at that!

And the internet thought so too. His tweets gained some traction on Twitter, and even found themselves on Imgur, where they were viewed over 130,000 times and gained over 4,400 upvotes.

What are your thoughts on this? Have your kids come up with anything deviously genius like this? Let us know in the comment section below!

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