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3 Arizona students caught hacking computer to change grades

By Paul Davenport

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:32 a.m. HST, May 24, 2013

PHOENIX » Three Arizona high school students who were on the verge of flunking their classes have been arrested after officials said they hacked into their teachers' computers and improved their grades.

Police say the Prescott High School juniors attached a device to the computers of several teachers that secretly recorded keystrokes to capture their usernames and passwords. They then bumped up their grades, but a teacher eventually became suspicious after noticing that a student's listed grade wasn't consistent with his efforts in class.

"They were definitely low grades and close to failing," Lt. Ken Morley said.

The three 16-year-old boys face juvenile proceedings on charges of tampering with public records and computer tampering, police said Thursday.

Morley said the first student police talked to implicated the other two during questioning.

"We talked to the first one and he gave us the rundown of exactly what happened," Morley said.

At least one parent of each student was present when they were questioned, Morley said.

It's possible that a judge could decide that the boys should face adult criminal proceedings but that's unlikely because they don't have records of prior trouble with the law, Morley said.

Principal Totsy McCraley said the students "most certainly will get a school consequence" along with whatever punishment the judicial system metes out.

Citing privacy concerns, she declined to elaborate.

Morley and McCraley said the investigation was continuing and that they didn't know whether more students were involved.

"It's like an onion, you keep turning over layers," she said.

McCraley said she hadn't run into grade hacking before and was jolted by the discovery.

"I never expect any students to do this kind of activity," she said.

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opalaedo wrote:
They should get an A for their initiative and breaking into the computer. Not many people can do that.
on May 23,2013 | 09:44PM
Steve96785 wrote:
If all that is needed is a thumb drive plugged into the back of your computer, anyone can do it. Not noticing the small device is probably much more likely on older desktop computers. Not much skill required when you can purchase similar devices at several websites. Lots of ways to cheat up to higher grades, and none should be rewarded.
on May 24,2013 | 05:34AM
allie wrote:
true..but the USA is seeing failure in moral standards in all aspects of life.
on May 24,2013 | 06:37AM
Bergonia wrote:
Hate to say it but it is not that hard to do. You have a computer. Google keylogger and find a how to guide. What would have been impressive is breaking into the computer via the internet, covering the tracks, and taking some money from the teachers bank account. That is assuming the computer was plugged into the net.
on May 24,2013 | 06:43AM
Uncleart66 wrote:
Next move.....break into the court system and drop the charges....
on May 23,2013 | 10:30PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Cheating seems to have become rampant in out youth. Whether it be in SAT testing or even in gaming, a lot of our youths take the shortcut. It seems to go hand-in-hand with how they are raised. Children these days just have to ask for something and they get it. They want to go to the movies with their friends? They just have to simply ask their parents for the money. Of course the parent will not only give them the money for the tickets but for the meal after at the fast food restaurant. Parents think that this action will not affect their children in any adverse way but it does. It teaches their kids that they don't have to work hard to get what they want. My children have chores and they are not summarily given an "allowance". An allowance amounts to an entitlement and that is not good. They have to earn their money. Through their chores they earn their spending money. And they are not "token" chores. They are "work" chores consisting of doing the dishes or washing the car. And I give them a fair assessment of their work and give them their spending money at the end of the week much like the way you or I get paid. Then if they don't have enough for the week they have to "borrow" and there is an interest in the form of interest rates similar to the loan rates at banks. You can be sure that they think twice before they borrow money because the "bank" does collect. It takes work to make such a system work as you have to be on the ball when you do these things but your kids' attitude regarding work is very important. It will reflect on how they think about work in terms of school and the working world.
on May 24,2013 | 09:56AM
allie wrote:
you sound bourgeois. I grew up in dire poverty and knew the value of the dollar. My mom worked 12 hour shifts at a North Dakota truck stop and I cleaned dishes, tables and houses. I did post-construction clean-up.
on May 24,2013 | 12:37PM
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