Hackers recently targeted a Virginia high school in order to change the grades of multiple students. The hackers were able to obtain access to teacher accounts when they sent out a phishing link. The phishing link was included inside an email that pretended to be from the “Oaktown High School’s Honor Council” dedicated to “honor and integrity”. The link then directed the user to a malware site, which downloaded key logger software onto the computer.
A key logger records strokes on the user’s keyboard, including passwords and other sensitive data. That information is captured by the hacker, giving them the ability to access the user’s accounts.
Hacked School System
The Virginia high school hackers used their access to make several changes in the school system:
After the emails began circulating, there were multiple cases of grade changes being requested, as well as students’ passwords being changed and emails being sent through remote log-ins, according to the search warrant. The court document does not say whether the hackers were successful in changing any grades, and Fairfax County Public Schools officials declined to say. –The Washington Post
Hacking Grades Could Result in Heavy Charges
Law Enforcement haven’t found the high school hackers, but if they do, charges could be steep.
There was a recent case of a University of Georgia student who hacked into his professor’s computer in order to alter his grades. He was charged with over 70 counts of computer forgery and computer trespassing.
According to the Washington Post, these types of grade-changing hacks are increasing. There are also services for hire to help students change their grades through hacking, as well as YouTube tutorials.
Photo credit: Katy Levinson