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Teenage hackers 'tried to change school grades'

The Local · 14 May 2012, 12:03

Published: 14 May 2012 12:03 GMT+02:00

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The two 19-year-olds from Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, were rumbled when teachers at their grammar school figured out earlier this year that their grades on the computer and those on paper did not match, local paper the Lübecker Nachrichten reported on Friday.

School authorities then lodged a criminal complaint against the university-hopefuls for hacking and data manipulation – the first case of its kind in the state. If they are found guilty they could face charges of hacking and data manipulation and may even have to spend time behind bars.

Ironically, the unnamed pair are thought to have picked up inside information when working with teachers to improve the school’s internal computer network – with the aim to make the system more user-friendly.

Rüdiger Bleich, head teacher at the Johanneum grammar school was left baffled, telling the Lübecker Nachrichten that the two students had in any case scored highly, making the attempted cheat pointless.

“They clearly wanted to change their grades,” said Bleich. “But at no point would they have been able to access the central database.”

State data protection expert Thilo Weichert warned the Ministry for Education in 2011 about holes in school computer systems, but little was done to heed his concern.

He told the Lübecker Nachrichten that it would not be too difficult for pupils to obtain an administration log-in and gain access to private data inside their school’s system.

But despite the recent breach, head teacher Bleich said he felt students would not have any business looking in the internal network, and that efforts to make the system more accessible would continue as “the trust is there.”

Story continues below…

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:43 May 14, 2012 by Wobinidan
Instead of throwing these kids in jail, give them jobs. Information security should be so safe that the government should be offering cash prizes to anyone that can hack it. Hackers are people you want on your side, not as enemies.
12:57 May 14, 2012 by DOZ
Hacking Institutions of evil like Education Institutions, should get them a Medal of Honor.
14:24 May 14, 2012 by jg.
"Instead of throwing these kids in jail, give them jobs"


- you might not trust them enough to want them in your organisation, in the same way that you might not want to invite a burglar into your home to check the locks;

- if you are going to employ hackers, you would likely want to employ the ones who didn't get caught.
21:52 May 14, 2012 by wood artist

I agree. If there was some prior written agreement that they would try to hack the system, with or without some promise of payment or a job or whatever, that would be one thing. However, this sounds a whole lot like a "bad guy" who tries to smuggle something forbidden onto an airplane, and then claims he was "just testing security" when he's caught.

While what they did might have benefits, at least in the idea of exposing weaknesses, that wasn't their motivation. They were there for other reasons...and not positive ones.

09:05 May 15, 2012 by DoubleDTown
they are 19 and still in "grammar school"? is that some kind of British English term?
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