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Hacking Charges Against Students Minimized to Only Misconduct

In November 2007, police charged two graduates and six students of Fayetteville-Manlius High School of applying a keylogger to gain control of a computer system of the school to be able to steal admin passwords and alter grades. Initially, administrators feared that there might have been tampering with various records such as the SAT test marks but after investigations, it was found that the group of hackers changed only their own performance results.

Out of these eight students, three recently were given some relief by the Onondaga Countty. William Fitzpatrick, District Attorney of Onondaga County, said that charges against three students who unlawfully accessing a computer system of the school district to manipulate their grades have been reduced to only misdemeanors after the court acquiesced to minimize their accusations from serious criminal crime, as reported by WCAX on March 27, 2008.

Meanwhile, during prosecution, a plea settlement was reached with the three defendants, Joshua Brown, Christian Bucknell and Ahmed Souid, who admitted of committing felony counts of computer tampering. The terms under the plea agreement would allow the teens to admit guilt to accusations of accessing a computer system without authorization provided they fulfill restitution, serve the community for a period and do not get into trouble during the six months of April-September 2008.

But, Anthony Aloi, Judge of the County Court, insisted that the students must serve a prison term if they admitted to a serious criminal charge, as reported by Newsday on March 27, 2008.

Further, according to Manlius police, several students of a high school used a keylogger to acquire control of the computers at OCM BOCES School and Fayetteville-Manlius district where they managed to steal admin passwords so that they could view and alter grades. Their malicious activities came into light last year, resulting in charges against the two graduate and six high school students.

Besides, by minimizing the accusations, the cases of misdemeanor would be sent back to Manlius Town Court, where they would be kept pending during April-September 2008. And, as young offenders, they would eventually be cleared of convictions.

Fitzpatrick also said that he planned to allow three of the defendants admit guilt to misdemeanors while the last two students already are charged of misdemeanor. All could be discharged on conditions.

Related article: Hacking Attacks Are Increasing to Haunt Banks

ยป SPAMfighter News - 03-04-2008

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