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Updated May 23, 2013 - 3:10 pm

Arizona teens accused of hacking to change grades

PHOENIX — Three Arizona high school students who were on the verge of
flunking their classes have been arrested after officials said they hacked into
their teachers’ computers and improved their grades.

Police say the Prescott High School juniors attached a device to the computers
of several teachers that secretly recorded keystrokes to capture their usernames
and passwords. They then bumped up their grades, but a teacher eventually became
suspicious after noticing that a student’s listed grade wasn’t consistent with
his efforts in class.

“They were definitely low grades and close to failing,” Lt. Ken Morley said.

The three 16-year-old boys face juvenile proceedings on charges of tampering
with public records and computer tampering, police said Thursday.

Morley said the first student police talked to implicated the other two during

“We talked to the first one and he gave us the rundown of exactly what
happened,” Morley said.

At least one parent of each student was present when they were questioned,
Morley said.

It’s possible that a judge could decide that the boys should face adult
criminal proceedings but that’s unlikely because they don’t have records of
prior trouble with the law, Morley said.

Principal Totsy McCraley said the students “most certainly will get a school
consequence” along with whatever punishment the judicial system metes out.

Citing privacy concerns, she declined to elaborate.

Morley and McCraley said the investigation was continuing and that they didn’t
know whether more students were involved.

“It’s like an onion, you keep turning over layers,” she said.

McCraley said she hadn’t run into grade hacking before and was jolted by the

“I never expect any students to do this kind of activity,” she said.


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