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Embry Riddle Aeronautical University hacking unveils a student and an employee behind the crime


The investigation on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) hacking case has finally come to an end. The yearlong joint investigation carried out by Advanced Technology and Cyber Crimes Unit of Daytona Beach Police Department along with FBI found that the university's computers were hacked by an employee and a graduate student of the university. The two accused were now arrested.


The Ph.D. student named Kevin Mark Scott, aged 27 years, and Communications Specialist of ERAU, Jeanette Blair Barott, aged 32 years, were arrested by the Police on the morning of November 29, 2018, which was revealed through a Department press release. As per the investigators, the two accused Jeanette Barott and Kevin Scott hacked computer system of the university to see the information which were confidential and prohibited to them.


The information technology department of the university observed unauthorized access in the month of November. Immediately, the online security systems of the university reported about attempted security breach to the officials, which was blocked on 7 November 2017, said Ginger Pinholder, ERAU Spokeswoman. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has taken aggressive steps for tightening the online security, besides working closely with Police and the FBI while doing investigation of the breach.


As per Pinholster, on inspection of university's computer systems, no evidence was found of any personal or financial information being exposed in the hacking.


Scott over the span of one year used a program that was designed to find out passwords for hacking multiple administrator accounts of ERAU. With the help of these passwords, Scott visited restricted websites and also accessed the security program of the university, which manages the keycard access on the campus.


As per the police report, Scott's call records say, "Embry riddle's IT department entertains the absolute crap out of me. They seriously have accounts that have domain administrator rights (e.g. infinite power) that have a password of p@ssw0rd.... that hasn't changed in ten years".


The officials further said that Scott revealed to the investigators that it has been two-three years he has been accessing the server of the university, but has no intention to harm anyone.


The investigators also revealed that Barott was well aware of Scott's behavior and misdeed, but she never reported anyone about the same. Scott, in fact, gave Barott access to the passwords, which she uses to do changes to computer, like installing unauthorized web browser, that were not allowed. Barott however said to the agents that information given to her by Scott were not sensitive and also did not benefit her financially.


Both Barott and Scott are being accused of computer fraud, having damages worth over $5,000. Both of the accused were caught and put behind bars in Volusia County Branch Jail, but were soon released after paying bail bond of $10,000.

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