Debate Magazine

Hacks in Learning Institutions: Students Employ Hacking Methods to Change Grades

Posted on the 24 November 2017 by Darkwebnews @darkwebnews

Students, especially those in institutions of higher learning universities, are taking their game a notch higher by employing hacking methods to alter their end-of-semester results as well as change their fee balances.

These young people perpetuate the hacking vice by either seeking the services of a hacker or doing so by themselves.

Those who are undertaking IT courses and are familiar with the practice find no reason whatsoever to pay someone but instead, they do it for themselves.

Several reports of students changing grades have hit the headlines from time to time.

Since it is a violation and a criminal offense punishable by law, those who are found engaging in the act face jail sentences, fines, suspension or even expulsion from school. And those who are lucky enough not to get caught can breathe a sigh of relief.

One instance of a student who was arrested and charged after getting caught is is Sami Adel Ammar, who is currently in his early 20s.

Ammar was an engineering student at the University of Central Florida, where he successfully managed to change his grade from a F to a B in May of this year.

But apparently, the professor supervising the class enabled notifications whereby if grades are altered, then he receives an email notifying him of the change immediately.

So, when Ammar adjusted his marks, the professor received an automated email thanking him for approving the request to have the grades changed.

The event came as a surprise to the professor, and in a bid to find out what was going on, he logged into the system only to see the grades of the above student changed.

Given the fact that he had finished grading earlier on in the day, there would be no reason whatsoever for him to receive a new email regarding grade approvals.

He reported the matter to university law enforcement, and investigations revealed that the operation was carried out inside one of the rooms in the campus compounds that houses the Mathematical Science Department.

After analyzing the surveillance footage, the investigations revealed that the young lad was in the presence of another student.

In yet another instance, a student at Kansas University was expelled for installing a hardware keylogger to carry out the process of hacking into school computers.

The keylogger was used to acquire data that then allowed the student to alter grades from an F to a straight A.

Investigations on the matter again reveal that the hacking operation was carried out in one of the lecture halls at the school.

However, the issue came to light months after it happened, thus bringing into question how much time it will take to discover if other students have also done the same.

It was indeed a disappointment to the professors who were left with more questions than answers.

What's disturbing is that the device used to facilitate the hacking is available on online shopping stores such as Amazon, according to sources.

For students who have heard about the whole incident, nothing stops them from acquiring them to perpetuate the hacking vice.

Another student, enrolled at the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel, hacked the email addresses of his professors for several months.

The similarity between this instance of hacking and the other is that they all use computers within the school grounds.

After the discovery, the Israeli student was expelled as expected, which serves as a lesson to others.

It is notable that so many students out there are very desperate to fix messes and improve their grades.

Some are willing to go to the extreme and pay hackers a hefty amount to have their marks changed.

Those who are not aware that scammers are everywhere on the dark web end up falling victim and paying hackers who dupe them into thinking they'll infiltrate a system and change the data in a way that is beneficial to them.

In the actual sense, most of these scammers do not possess any bit of concept in hacking but are just interested in hoodwinking the student into believing they are accomplished hackers.

After they manage to do so, they request for upfront payments before work begins. It is in this process that the person ends up losing their money.

The practice is widespread, and students across the globe are fond of using the means.

In China, two students were accused of hacking into a school's database and changing the records for more than 200 classmates.

Apparently, the school is very strict on health matters and requires its student base to undergo physical education classes.

Some were not willing to go through the process, they resorted to using the services of the two classmates who hacked into the school's website to change the status for those who wanted to skip their Physical Education course.

In the process, they got paid more than 80,000 yuan from over 200 classmates who acquired their hacking services from time to time, according to local media reports in China.

In the end, the police caught up with the culprits and arrested them for hacking into the system.

After the discovery of the loophole in the school's network, appropriate measures-such as fixing the vulnerability-were taken to prevent others from doing the same thing.

The hacking practice is also common in high school, and a good example is when more than 45 students from Beau Chene High School in Louisiana were suspended when it was discovered that they took part in changing their grades through a web-based system.

The students managed to get the password of one of the teachers, which they then used to gain access to a program called PowerSchool that was in use by the school.

As expected, other classmates paid to have their grades changed too but the surprising fact is that the payments were not only in the form of money but also in sexual favors, reports local news outlets.

During the time, the culprits changed the grades of many classmates without notifying them of the same. As a result, they were not aware that someone had indeed tampered with their actual grades.

Those who knew of the act and notified the teachers were spared, but those who were aware remained silent were not spared. It's no wonder the number of those who were suspended was so high.

More investigations revealed that the issue was brought about when a concerned parent contacted the school on matters of grades. The school then directed teachers to observe if there were any discrepancies with the PowerSchool.

It was discovered that the students who were changing grades did so in a biased manner, increased the marks for the classmates they liked and lowering them for those they did not like-a funny way to seek revenge for a high schooler, one would think.

Onto other stories, despite the fact that Africa is among the continents that lag behind in this trend, it also has countries where young people are exceptionally fond of hacktivism.

Research conducted by network security company Cyberoam, revealed that the leading countries where students engage most in hacking activities are Egypt, Morocco, South Africa and Kenya.

It points out to the fact that cybercrime activities are indeed a growing business.

And since there are students who mess up at some point by either getting low grades or squandering free money, they often have to resort to other illegal means to clear the mess.

There are more instances where students at universities have employed hacking means to change their grades and fees.

It is a practice that is indeed becoming more common, and the relevant stakeholders ought to take measures and ensure the hacking vice does not get out of control as the digital world continues to advance.


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