Three Californian 16-year-olds have been arrested for having allegedly broken into their high school, stolen keys and tests, installed keyloggers onto teachers’ computers and used that information to change their and other students’ grades.
According to the Daily Breeze, these three juniors of the Palos Verdes High School have initially broken into the high school at night and picked the lock to the janitors’ office, from which they took the master key, which they used on over twenty occasions to access various classrooms.
Once inside, they inserted hardware keyloggers into the teachers’ computers and broke into their desks to steal hard copies of future tests.
Afterwards, they used the passwords recorded with the keyloggers to access the Edline online grade system from home and to change their test scores bit by bit in order to get better grades.
“The scores wouldn’t go up a whole lot, but enough to change their grade,” commented Palos Verdes Estates police Sgt. Steve Barber. “They didn’t want to make it real apparent something was going on.”
They apparently did the same for a handful of other students. They also allegedly solved the tests they stole and sold the answers to classmates.
The scheme was discovered when a student informed school administrators of the goings-on, and the investigation in the matter revealed that the perpetrators have been doing all this for months.
According to Nick Stephany, the high school’s principal, teachers are not to blame for the troubles. “There wasn’t a negligent teacher or a lazy attitude that allowed students to do this. They came in the dead of night and put things on these teachers’ computers,” he commented.
The schools teachers have been advised to change the passwords on their school computer accounts and on all other accounts they have accessed from these machines.
The school is also in the process of changing physical locks and upping network security, and teachers are comparing online grade transcripts to the handwritten grade books in order to discover who among the 1,700 students might have paid for having their test scores and grades raised.
The saddest thing in all of this is that the students in question didn’t need the higher grades to be accepted to good colleges – according to the principal, they were in AP and honors classes.