Student faces felony charges for hacking system to change failing grade
A 22-year-old engineering student from the University of Central Florida in Orlando who allegedly hacked into its grading systems, changing one of his grades in a class from an “F” to a “B”, is in legal trouble. He faces a felony charge of accessing a computer electronic device with knowledge that such action is unauthorized.
The culprit in question, Sami Adel Ammar, is said to have hacked into his professor’s computer to change a failing grade into a passing one. According to a surveillance video, two students are seen walking down the hallway in the Math and Science building on campus just after midnight on May 5th, say UCF police.
That’s around the same time when an auto email was sent to the professor of the class, thanking him for approving his grade roster. However, Ammar’s professor, Chung Young Chan, had finished his grading earlier in the day and had already received a thank you email.
The professor looked at the class’s grades to find the discrepancy and noticed that Ammar’s F was changed to B. That’s when he recognized that Ammar had only completed one assignment during the semester, and that assignment wasn’t for a grade, but presumably to prove he was enrolled in the class for financial aid. When the professor tried to change the grade back, he received an error message.
He reported the incident to campus police who upon investigation found an IP address of the computer system that was hacked by Ammar to change his grades inside the Mathematical Sciences Building staff, room 306. They reviewed security camera footage and saw Ammar and another student, Samuel Williams, enter the room.
Last week, Ammar was questioned by the UCF police. He has been trespassed from the university campus. On Tuesday, May 23, a warrant was issued for Ammar’s arrest, who turned himself into the Orange County Jail on Wednesday afternoon. He was released on $1,000 bond two hours later.
“We really have nothing to say,” Ammar’s father said when reached by phone Wednesday evening. “It’s an allegation.”
Apparently, Williams, the second man in the video, will not face any charges.