Former Georgia student hacker changed grades and stole data

A former Kennesaw State University (KSU) student accused of hacking into the school’s computer system to change grades and stealing personal data was arrested by the police, reports Fox 5 Atlanta.

Chase Arthur Hughes, 19, is charged on three counts of computer trespassing, computer invasion of privacy and computer forgery. Hughes turned himself in to the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office on Monday. Crimes relating to computer privacy can result in a fine up to $50,000 or jail time of up to 15 years in the state of Georgia.

Kennesaw State police began an investigation in May after receiving reports of the hacking. Hughes illegally hacked the university’s Owl Express program using his girlfriend’s internet connection to change several students’ grades, including his own. He reportedly changed fellow students’ grades from an “F” to “A” and another from a “C” to “A”. For himself, he upgraded his “B” to an “A,” police said.

The incident was detected after a KSU professor received a confirmation email from the university’s computer system alerting him of a grade change that he did not make, according to the police report. The professor alerted school officials who then told police.

The grades were immediately corrected to the original posting.

“While the system worked as it should and alerted professors of the grade changes, additional measure have been put into place to help further detect unauthorized access,” said Lectra Lawhorne, the school’s interim chief information officer.

In addition to changing grades, Hughes allegedly stole data from the university. The police are reporting that he used the login data from several professors to look at sensitive and confidential information, including employment history, financial, credit, and medical information, of both professors and students. The usernames and passwords of at least 36 faculty members were recorded by him in a notebook that the officers found in his home.

At the moment, it is unclear if Hughes had downloaded any of this data, or how he managed to get hold of so many details of KSU professors.

Hughes was enrolled at the KSU from fall 2015 to summer 2016, as a business major with a concentration in finance.

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