back to article Hack database, change school grades, go to jail for 20 years (maybe)

It's the stuff of movies such as War Games but two California men accused of hacking into a University database system to change their grades face up to 20 years imprisonment. John Escalera, 29, and Gustavo Razo, 28, are charged (PDF) with conspiring together to increase their marks by manipulating California State University …


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  1. Tom

    Need a better approach to do the job...

    Back in my high school career, (in the late 60's) I "volunteered" to print up the rosters for "physical education" (an apathy to any good computer geek). As any good BOFH in training (I was only a PFY at the time) I made sure that my name was on the "excused" list the first year I did this task. The second year my name was totally absent. If you are going to do a hack, be very very sure you have all the bases covered. Thankfully in my case, the teacher I did the work for was so happy to have the job done (he was doing it manually, and it probably took a couple of hours each week to do) he went along with the game.

    Amazing what you can do when you have free access to a computer when in high school. Even better when this is the late 60's and said computer access is 100% more than the school has (which was none at the time).

    Always fun to get the BOFH training in early.

  2. Jach


    You're supposed to change the grades of a bunch of other people, too, so it's not obvious! Idiots.

  3. Matthew Sinclair
    Thumb Down


    It took them 3 years to find out?

    Guess they don't audit much.

  4. The Aussie Paradox

    New hack for Uni students.

    Maybe they should have tried the "Study Harder" hack technique. This requires an above average geekyness factor and involves less boozing for the duration of the hack.

    If that doesn't work, they could always get into a low skill career, like street cleaning or a political career.

    Speaking of cheating, anyone here watching the election in Oz?

    All those who care, please, speak up!

    *sound of crickets*

  5. Mike Moyle


    "Escalera allegedly used unspecified hacking techniques to acquire a supervisor password." that the same as what we used to call "reading the Post-It™ on the boss's monitor"...?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Thats a lot of time

    There are murderers getting ten to fifteen years, the system those guys will end up in doesn't have room for them anyway, there are honest to goodness werewolves in the California Corrections system, no one can safely be in the same room with, my bet is they don't do even 6 months(if they live).

  7. Smitty Werben Jueger Man Jenson

    @ Err....

    I think the "unspecified hacking techniques" are what the police say when they couldn't find the flashy graphical hacking programs they see in movies.

  8. Shakje

    Re: Thats a lot of time

    It's nowhere near enough they should go down for life, it's people like this that threaten the very fabric of society. God knows what would happen if they got together with a group of immigrants. They could destroy our world AT WILL.

  9. Stu


    Working from the other end of the scale...

    The one and only time i will admit that i was "involved" with such illicit activities was as an authorized white-hat making an attempt to reach a very private database which contained several million customer records, including bank details, addresses and the like, for a company in South Yorkshire (UK).

    The contract description was "[snip]...attempt to gain access to customer data via external means.[/snip]"

    It took as little as firing up Windoze remote desktop software from my laptop and calling the hell-desk posing as the boss’s son saying "My dad wanted me to check the weekly figures again and I have forgotten the network password!"

    I honestly thought they wouldn’t buy it, but you would be surprised by the power of stupidity!

    After two weeks of working with the hell-desk rookies and the network "administrator"(laugh) I decided the job was getting boring, claimed the system was wrapped up tighter than an Eskimo’s nad-sack and took my pay check!

    I think the company closed down a few years later......who knows! =)

    Oh the good old days!

  10. Daniel B.
    Thumb Down

    If I had this power

    I'd change my *worst enemies* grades, cover enough tracks as for me not getting incriminated (but enough for the hack to be caught). Then wait a month, and if the school dudes haven't noticed, give an "anonymous tip-off". WHAM!

    I mean, even with school grades someone is bound to find out; anything with a paper trail or audit logs can and will be checked upon. So I'd go for screwing up someone else ... though even then you might get caught. oops.

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