back to article FBI: Student wrestler grappled grades after choking passwords from PCs using a key logger

A former chemistry student allegedly used keystroke-logging gadgets to steal tutors' passwords, changed classmates' grades and downloaded copies of exams ahead of time. Amateur wrestler Trevor Graves, 22, who studied at the University of Iowa, in the US, was arrested and indicted this month on two hacking charges – each of …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    FBI make federal case out of school keylogger

    What a total waste of time and money. This could have been dealt with internally, instead of giving Graves a criminal record.

    "The university, meanwhile, told FBI investigators it had cost $67,500 to probe and clear up his alleged actions."

    I call cyber BS on that figure ..

    1. Florida1920

      Re: FBI make federal case out of school keylogger

      This could have been dealt with internally, instead of giving Graves a criminal record.

      Past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior. It's well they nailed the jerk before he went and did something really harmful.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: FBI make federal case out of school keylogger

        Agree. Should have been handled internally. You don't use a shotgun as a flyswatter.

        Florida, I seriously doubt "this jerk" is capable of doing anything more dangerous than getting caught for being stupid. He's a danger to himself, nobody else.

      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: FBI make federal case out of school keylogger

        "Past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior"

        Ever heard about the concept of "Redemption"?

        Young people are prone to make stupid mistakes. When those did not cause injuries or worse, I see no reason why these people should be stigmatize for their whole life

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. lifetime security Bronze badge

          Re: FBI make federal case out of school keylogger

          Sorry, black hat hackers are generally beyond redemption. The track record is miserable.They never change.

    2. johnfbw

      Re: FBI make federal case out of school keylogger

      The costs probably aren't as extreme as your would have thought.

      The article implies 6 classes which implies minimum of 6 professors plus 6 TAs, factor in 2-3 IT staff, 5 friends/accomplices means approximately 22 interview (at minimum). Each interview takes 2-3 hours (1 for the interview and at least an hour of faffing and transport). Each interview has 2-3 FBI

      That implies 22*3*3 hours just for interviews = 198 FBI hours, almost $20k on just interviews @$100/hr (which is reasonable for a mid level FBI + tax + overtime + holiday + 401k etc). This doesn't included the FBI IT techs, the searches of properties, the investigations, the re-interviews, the incorrect interviews (there will have been innocent people and staff from other courses). Then factor in the overheads, rent, hotels, cars. - maybe 5k

      Then you have the cost of preparing for trial - FBI lawyers, re interviews, preparing - probably the same 20k again

      66.5k seems padded, but not by much

      1. Rimpel
        FAIL

        @johnfbw Re: FBI make federal case out of school keylogger

        "The university, meanwhile, told FBI investigators it had cost $67,500 to probe and clear up his alleged actions."

        I read that as that was only the cost to the university, so nothng to do with FBI salaries etc. So I read the actual pdf: I quote #39

        "According to the Uni of Iowa, the IT costs associated with their internal investigation, response to the discovery of the breech (sic) and remedial steps taken to update the Uni security is approx $67,900. This does not include the non-IT costs associated with professors reviewing their grades and updating their exams"

        so yeah i call utter BS.

        1. 2Nick3

          Re: @johnfbw FBI make federal case out of school keylogger

          " and remedial steps taken to update the Uni security is approx $67,900. "

          Who knows what all remedial steps were taken update the Uni security. Just bringing in a consultant could run more than the $68k!

  2. Tim Seventh
    Joke

    Chemistry student used keystroke-logging

    "Degrees are also usually rescinded"

    That's ok, because he was clearly in the wrong major. There's no chemistry in computer science.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Chemistry student used keystroke-logging

      There's no computer science in a skiddy installing a keylogger either.

  3. frank ly

    It's amazing,

    The way that Graves and others left evidence for the FBI to find and use against them. I like to read these analyses by El Reg because it helps to remind me what to avoid doing.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: It's amazing,

      @frank ly

      You must be referring to this little gem:

      One of the thumb drives had a photo of Graves logging into ICON using a professor's identity, and advanced copies of examination questions, the Feds claimed.

      Talk about hubris... a photo of himself committing a crime!?

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "Talk about hubris... a photo of himself committing a crime!?"

        It's all about selfies, today.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: "Talk about hubris... a photo of himself committing a crime!?"

          @ LDS

          yep... Look at me everybody! I'm a criminal! snap snap

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: It's amazing,

        Was just watching War Games last night where Matthew Broderick does this. Lovely to see the late John Spencer and John Wood in action too.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: It's amazing, @JimboSmith

          "Was just watching War Games last night where Matthew Broderick does this."

          Broderick did it in Ferris Bueller's Day Off as well.

          Ferris is the better film of the two, and I'm expecting lots of upvotes for this on a tech forum. :-)

  4. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Eternal Quest

    Back in the day during my PhD I did a lot of tutoring to help keep life, soul and family together. In one of these a student asked if I knew where the exam scripts were kept. I replied yes, I'd seen them locked in glass cabinets in the HoD's office but I did not divulge this to the students. They then asked me how much to get them a copy. I replied my lifetime earnings as a moderately successful academic scientist as it would cost me that if I was caught.

    They found the price too high. They all passed pretty well. I ended up marking a lot of their exam papers, fairly and properly.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eternal Quest is getting cheaper

    Your sale price is well within the reach of some and a little on the low side IMO. Back when I wore short pants I had a friend with real money. He would bribe people all the time and taught me some of the tricks.

    Asking someone to just do their job, but in a certain way, was the cheapest. A days pay was usually enough but if in doubt offer a weeks pay. Don't ask how much a person is going to sell out for, make the hint that their job could be done a certain way and then discretely slide over more cash than they have seen in awhile with a comment about appreciation and the hope of more in the future. Of course law breaking may be in a future request but by then there would be a relationship.

    Most people do not get to see the inside of such deals but many are public enough. Politics and business is a good place to look if someone is wondering how people can be bought. IMO best to not start by looking at your own country. You'll be blind to what others can easily see there. I'd suggest starting with the U.S. if not American or Asian countries and look at how laws are really made. Ask how it is that individuals tasked with representing the peoples interest have done so poorly over the last several decades. Cui bono.

    When you start to see how billion dollar decisions can be had for thousands take another look at your own country, region, city or town. Of course you will not be able to unlook so maybe not.

  6. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Can I just say that my witty comment has been ruined by the fact that one cannot spell "twat" from the symbols available in the Periodic Table of the Elements.

    Thank you "scientists".

    Once again you come up a day late and a dollar short of requirements.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

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