Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

Summary: A university student has been caught hacking electronic records to improve his grades.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Security, Banking, CXO
25

A student from Bucks College Edwin T.Kim, 31, turned to desperate measures in an attempt to improve his college grades.

Studying at the Temple University Ambler Campus in Upper Dublin, Kim has admitted hacking in to university systems to try and improve his academic records. The student purchased keylogging software online, which is a means to capture key strokes on a computer -- and therefore awards the owner access to anything that requires identification details and passwords.

Kim used his keylogger software by installing it on a university computer in the administration office, removing it several days later after the information he required had been harvested. He was able to acquire the different identification numbers and passwords of his professors, which provided access to an electronic grading system implemented by the university.

Temple uses an electronic system that is only meant to be accessible to academic staff, where a sign-on number and password is used to enter grade records. Kim began altering his grades after realizing that he was failing his Law and American society courses.

One professor who taught one of Kim's courses, Cost Accounting, discovered something was wrong when she was locked out of the grading system while trying to input the final grades of her students in 2011. When the professor later compared her personal files and the grades documented electronically, she found that only Kim's grades had been altered -- switching from an 'F' to an 'A-'.

Following from this revelation, two other professors at the university found that the 'F' standard they awarded him had also been changed to 'A' grades.

Once this was discovered, the authorities became involved. The authorities reviewed auditing logs for the electronic record system, and the changes were traced back to Kim's home computer and another computer registered at his workplace. In total, it was discovered Kim had managed to access six grading accounts, three attributed to professors teaching courses he attended.

The student, after apologizing for his actions, has received a two-year probationary period and $300 dollar fine, having been charged and pleaded guilty to tampering with records.

County Assistant District Attorney Steven Bunn said that Kim took full responsibility for his actions, and that Temple University "washed their hands of him" after his actions were brought to light.

Image credit: CNET

Related:

Topics: Security, Banking, CXO

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

25 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

    Darwin award for him.
    pagraves
    • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

      @pagraves

      Since he is still alive and well, he in no way qualifies for a Darwin.
      lonniemcclure
  • Good for Temple & the authorities

    Although a 2-year probationary period doesn't sound strict enough to me. Maybe if there had been at least a one-term suspension, followed by the probationary period.
    spdragoo@...
    • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

      @spdragoo@... Actually he got kicked out completely so the one-term suspension would have been a waste. Out on his ass just as he deserves.
      A real genius. From an F to an A???? :)
      SoreHead
      • Ah, my mistake

        @SoreHead

        Thought they'd meant "academic probation", not "call your probation officer every month".
        spdragoo@...
    • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

      @spdragoo@... I wonder how he got access to a computer in the admin offices in the first place. I hope the college repremanded the staff member whose PC he got access to. I would have to imagine that they had a weak password that he was able to guess (or had it written down somewhere!)
      SElizDav
  • Shoulda been total ban

    Two-year probation? He should have been kicked out forever.
    bmeacham98@...
    • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

      @bmeacham98@...

      I think this was probation, probation, not "academic probation." The article states that "the university washed its hands of him" meaning, I believe, that he was expelled.
      dsf3g
    • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

      @bmeacham98@... You got that right!
      gil_seiler
  • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

    [b]my roomate's half-sister makes $78/hr on the laptop. She has been out of a job for 6 months but last month her check was $8255 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site ... Lazycash9.com[/b]
    leon6600
    • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

      @leon6600 very relevent
      SoreHead
      • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

        @SoreHead I believe they have a whole article on you under SCAMS.
        SoreHead
      • Yes, it is relevant.

        @SoreHead Because ol' Kimmy Boy is probably going into the scam busines next. Don't know why he wanted to get into law; there's an overabundance of crooks in that field making it harder to get a job there. ;-)
        Dr_Zinj
  • Keylogger should not have been able to be installed

    In Windows, logging keystrokes requires administrative access. How in the hell does some random student get admin rights to a PC in administration? Yeah, he could have run some exploit to elevate (assuming the PC wasn't patched), but given that he purchased the key logging software on the net, I doubt if he was sophisticated enough to pull that off. It sounds like their computers used to access sensitive data are all run in "spread eagle" mode.
    toadlife
    • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

      @toadlife
      I have to agree here...it is obvious that this individual doesn't have the necessary chops to hack admin rights to a computer... And the fact that he installed software on a computer to do this proves that he has no clue on what he was doing...not when the better way to use keylogging is with a USB dongle, or a keyboard plug-in. No logs no evidence!
      And has he ever heard of a Kinkos? of course they'll be able to trace connections back to him! And he only changed *HIS* grades? Duh! if you change everybody's then nobody knows *WHO* did it!
      tech_ed@...
    • Admin rights user leaves system logged in

      @toadlife I see it happen ALL the time.
      Dr_Zinj
  • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

    In the future they could set up their database to email alerts if a suspicious change occurs - such as an F to A-.

    It sounds like the IT group failed in too many palces to mention to let this happen.
    Gridder406
  • he will probably

    get a high paying job in infosec, as script kiddies do. I blame MS, apple and the networking infrastructure corps and the ISP's for this - they make DELIBERATELY BROKEN products and systems when they could easily produce totally secure systems (when was the last time billy or stevey or barry or rupert were hacked, hmmmm?). Why? - ostensibly because law enforcement secretly mandates it, but they really do it because they reap a rich harvest in stolen IP. I have direct experience of this. The big corps really benefit from this ill gotten gain and the script kiddies and lamo pathetic quasi mystical 'hackers' are convenient stooges for the real culprits - 'law' enforcement and their masters the neo-feudal robber barons. All the numbnut botnet herders and arch hacker mafia types out there do is serve up the real bucks to the same old suspects - the billionaires - while they get peanuts, and ultimately jail terms...
    walkerjian@...
  • RE: Keylogging student caught hacking college grades

    Kim should have been tried in a court and sent to jail as a lesson to other cheats and hackers. (Charge should have been criminal trespass and tampering).<br><br>As a Temple alumnus, I want stronger actions against those who sully the hard work of honest students.<br><br>
    Max Friedman
    • Exactly!

      @Max Friedman
      I am really amazed. A POS like this Kim gets 2 years probation and a small fine. Other people have been put into prison for years for less reprehensible crimes.

      No wonder Americans have lost respect for our justice system.
      sissy sue