Purdue University Student Jailed for Hacking School Computers, Changing Grades

The Journal and Courier reports that former Purdue University student Roy C. Sun was recently sentenced to 90 days in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised probation and 100 hours of community service, for hacking into university computers to change his grades (h/t Sophos).

Sun was one of three former Purdue students charged in June of 2013 with hacking into their professors’ computers — Sun apparently changed his grades from nine Fs and one incomplete to straight As.

Sun said he first breached a professor’s account in 2008 as a test to see if he and fellow student Mitsutoashi Shirasaki would get caught — they didn’t.

“When I came back in 2009, I felt really arrogant,” he said at the sentencing hearing. “I thought I was untouchable. It became so much easier to change my grades than going to class and working real hard.”

Sun pled guilty on December 30, 2013 to two counts of computer tampering and one count of conspiracy to commit computer tampering.

Shirasaki, who returned to Japan when the breach was discovered, hasn’t been charged.

Fellow student Sujay Sharma was sentenced to 18 months of probation and 200 hours of community service for serving as a lookout while Sun and Shirasaki broke into professors’ offices to plant or retrieve keyloggers.

“The most troubling thing about this is how brilliant you are and how capable your are to devise this and carry it out. … I worry about people who are as bright as you who are as dishonest as you because you can do more damage,” Judge Thomas Busch said prior to sentencing.

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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