Hacking for grades gets 4 preppies bounced

Apparently not having heard the sorry tale of former congressional aide Todd Shriber, four students at the elite yet scandal-plagued Milton Academy in Massachusetts find themselves expelled or suspended today for attempting to jack up their grades not through more diligent study but network hacking.

When will they learn?

Shriber, you may recall, was a grownup working for a Montana congressman when he attempted to hire a hacker to boost his college GPA. Cost him his job, not to mention a remarkable round of Internet humiliation.

The Massachusetts teens are somewhat more fortunate in that they're learning their lesson while still under the cloak of juvenile status, but that doesn't mean the consequences are not severe: The ringleader is gone from the prestigious academy -- which counts Sen. Ted Kennedy and Gov. Deval Patrick among its grads -- and the other three are suspended for the balance of the year. From the Boston Globe:

"The actions of all four students had potentially profound effects," Rick Hardy, the interim head of school, wrote in a letter. "They undermined the security of communication among all members of the community and threatened the validity of the attendance and grading systems, which must be inviolable."

Hardy wrote that a male student from the upper school obtained access to e-mail and network passwords in October. Over recent weeks, he wrote, the boy downloaded to a personal computer others' passwords and changed his attendance record, several of his grades, and the grades of other students in his classes.

The boy, who has been expelled, shared the passwords with the three upper school classmates. Hardy wrote that all three viewed academy e-mail accounts. One student logged in as another person and changed his attendance record. Another one gained access to a test before a teacher gave it to a class.

All grades are being reviewed, and, needless to say, all passwords have been changed.

Kids have been weaseling their way into school computers since schools first got computers, of course, so it's not shocking that it would happen even at an academy for the privileged.

And it's not only kids. Just recently two California men were charged and faced up to 20 years behind bars for attempting to artificially improve their academic credentials.

Maybe if these people cracked a book now and then they wouldn't have to pull these stupid stunts.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)