Sunday, 04 May, 2008 Current Events

Students Hack into School's Computer Systems to Change Their Grades


Four high school students are charged of hacking into the Fort Bend Independent School District's computer network and altering grades for at least 60 students, as reported by the district officials.

The case could be regarded as a felony case, since the financial loss of the act is estimated at about $190,000. According to the law, an action leading to a loss of $100,000 to $200,000 should be called a second-degree felony, which carries a penalty of two to twenty years of prison.

All the grade changes were made for students enrolled at the Hightower High School, which is where the students under investigation are enrolled. According to the school district officials corrective measures have already been taken.

Mary Ann Simpson, spokeswoman of the school district said that it was very important that all of the students' grades to be reevaluated. Only this way there may be confidence in the fact that the grades are accurate and have not been tampered with.

There was no information wether the hackers only improved the grades or gave some students lower grades. In any case, as the investigators state, the altered grades would have been recorded on report cards or on other academic records. Among the students under investigation there were two students with their grade changed to higher scores.

During the investigation it became clear that computer network's of four other Fort Bend schools have also been hacked into, thus some data in the computer system was lost and some data was altered, however only grades at Hightower school were changed. According to the officials, all the data has already been recovered.

At this time no legal action was taken against the hackers, three of which were juveniles. Any disciplinary measures or legal actions will be taken only after the investigation is over and the guilt of the suspected students is proven.

The case of hacking into the computer system of the schools has become a ground for checking the computer security procedures in order to prevent further attempts to breach the schools' network security.

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