Do Grade Changing Hackers Deserve 20 Years In Jail?

from the seems-a-bit-extreme dept

Over the years, we've had numerous stories of kids caught changing their grades by hacking into school computer systems. However, is it worth a $250,000 fine and 20 years in jail? That's apparently what two men face after hacking into California State University's computer system and changing their grades. The guys have been charged with "unauthorized computer access, identity theft, conspiracy, and wire fraud." Obviously, these guys did a bad thing, but it's hard to see how the possible sentence matches with the crime. Of course, it seems unlikely that any judge would give them the maximum sentence, but even hearing that it's possible just for changing your grades seems ridiculous.

Filed Under: grade changing, hackers, identity theft


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  1. identicon
    AlGhoul, 5 Nov 2007 @ 10:04am

    Re:

    "Yes. It is worth it. They deserve the penalty, if not more.

    It's hard enough being in a top 5 engineering school. I don't need some lazy prick with no social life and less intelligence to skew the class average to put everyone else at a disadvantage. Fuck them. They had no business changing their grade. They did the crime, knowing the consequences, with bad intentions. None of it was an accident (aside from them being caught) - and I sure as hell don't want to let them potentially have a second chance - so they deserve maximum sentence.

    There are smarter fish in the sea, why waste our efforts on these assholes."
    Less intellegent? They "hacked" into the school system, right? Seems like they're fairly intellegent. The issue is that they are either lazy, or did not want to do the work...

    In my high school Algebra class (yes, I'm in college now, taking calc and such...), I never did homework, slept in class, and only did the tests... I got straight A's... Granted, I didn't go in and change my grade or anything, but why work more when you can work smarter?

    I don't think they deserve maximum sentence simply because they thought outside of the box (compared to you) and decided not to do all the grunt assignments...

    "So they weren't kids, they weren't just changing their own grades (paid the other cash), and there's more to the indictment thatn just changing grades.
    The only part of the story you got right was the potential 20 years - billiant, who needs proper journalists ?."
    Sadly, the news article linked in this article says the same thing that this article says (including the identity theft, which is just the acquisition of the usernames and passwords of those individuals capable of changing grades...). This article is accurate to the linked article...as well as to the indictment linked...

    "Changing grades, even when it's only your own, *can* be more permanently damaging to more people than stealing money since it has the potential to change the availability of opportunities by changing the permanent record of a person's knowledge. In this case, since an individual changing his own grades is only likely to shift the curve by one head, I'd expect the judge should not grant the max, but I can certainly see why the max is ava."
    I'll remind you that a grade in a class is not symbol of knowledge gained, only criteria met (i.e. passing tests, doing assignments/homework, etc.). I can get straight A's by doing all of my assignments, but forget it the very semester after I've taken the course, which is often the case with students taking core required classes...

    "So Anthony believes that hackers should be respected? I wish that the English language could gain a bit more respect as well. With gems like this on from Anthony,

    "you need good english skills, logic, and a good programing language, These things dont come up in the wild."

    I am sure that hackers are getting all the respect they deserve from Anthony and other supporters. I see and hear this type of horrific sentence formation more and more these days. Perhaps this is because so many hackers have focused too hard on scamming instead of cramming.

    Ba dump bump...pssshhhh!"
    Lol! It's true that Anthony doesn't user proper grammatical formations...but the meaning of his sentence is clear...sort of. :D

    I agree that hacking shouldn't be rewarded, but it also shouldn't be punished with such scrutiny. I mean, I understand that everything is interlinked and affects on one system could damage another quite easily, but changing a grade is hardly equivalent to attempting a fire storm...

    Yep...ProphetBeal makes a good point. :D

    "Your average idiot is, under normal and reasonable circumstances, unable to crack a secure server's database and make changes to grades and records.
    Your overzealous pride and elitism aside, the ability to hack into the school's server shows intelligence and motivation. Perhaps they should be hired by a security firm instead of being punished, especially if they do something creative in the hacking process."
    Technically, ProphetBeal is right... Social engineering is NOT hacking; it's merely manipulation of the "average idiot"... That's why the largest security threats nowadays are social engineering techniques instead of trojan viruses.

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