Three Purdue University students have been charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors after the educational institution discovered that they hacked into their professors’ accounts to change their grades.
Two of them – Mitsutoshi Shirasaki, an aeronautics and astronautics major from Japan, and Sujay Sharma, a nuclear engineering major – were seniors at the university until their schemes were discovered and they were kicked out.
The third, Roy Chaoran Sun, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in May 2010.
Sun graduated with straight A’s in at least 10 courses, and Shirasaki made sure that he only had a handful of B’s, jconline.com reports. Sharma only changed one of his grades, from a D to an A, but he’s also accused of accessing course tests and of acting as a lookout for Shirasaki.
So how did they do it?
Apparently, they physically broke into their professors’ offices and replaced their keyboards with ones they had set up to log keystrokes. Once they obtained their professors’ passwords, they used the information to access accounts and change grades.
The scheme was uncovered in November 2012, when one professor told the IT security services department that someone had changed his password.
The investigation led do Shirasaki since he used the university’s Wi-Fi network with his own account when he hacked into the professor’s account to change a grade.
Upon further investigating the matter, Purdue University representatives found the other two alleged hackers.
Sun’s degree is being reviewed by the university, but he will be given the chance to respond to the accusations brought against him before any decision is taken.
The students have been charged, among other things, with conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit theft, conspiracy to commit computer tampering, attempted burglary, burglary, forgery, and computer tampering.