#EpicFail for U.S. student who used keylogger to increase grades

Filed Under: Data loss, Featured, Law & order, Malware, Privacy

FAIL170Most of us will remember that feeling of being in school and wishing our grades were a wee bit more impressive. But few of us would have considered doing what this 31-year-old student from Warrington did to improve his ranking at Temple University Ambler Campus in Upper Dublin, near Philadelphia.

Earlier this week, Edwin T. Kim, fessed up to hacking into the university’s computerised grading system to bump up his grades, according to media reports.

Mr Kim reportedly bought a keylogger on the internet to capture the usernames and passwords of his teachers. Get this: he then "discretely" changed his F grades in classes like Financial Management and Law to As.

Barn shown on the Temple University Ambler Campus homepage
Did he bother to conceal his actions, say, by improving grades of other classmates? Nope. He obviously had so little respect for his teachers' abilities of deduction that he only changed his own marks, making his nefarious actions about as obvious a hot pink stretch Hummer chauffeured by a hippo.

Mr Kim removed the installed keylogger a few days later, and presumably basked in his genius for a bit. Or perhaps he was being pummelled with guilt and worry because he immediately gave himself up when questioned.

Mr Kim was handed a two-year probation sentence and a fine for 300 bucks after pleading guilty to all charges.

Kids, I probably don't need to say this, but if you aren't doing well in school, just hit the books. This approach is just a bit lame...and shortsighted.

Fail image courtesy of ShutterStock

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13 Responses to #EpicFail for U.S. student who used keylogger to increase grades

  1. NoSpin1600 · 984 days ago

    Also don't change your grade frm an F to an A.. go to a C, would be less obvious.

  2. Pat · 984 days ago

    Carole, I think you mean "discreetly", not "discretely". Same pronunciation, but totally different meanings.

  3. Simon · 984 days ago

    Life imitates art. I just rewatched War Games last week, where the protagonist does exactly this. I got shushed for pointing out that surely the teacher would remember that he gave him an F. He was a bit smarter in that he only raised his grade to a C, but still...

  4. Scott · 984 days ago

    Same story, different title. Cheating is nothing new, this is just the cyber age equivalent. Heck, they make software specifically for searching online to check papers for plagiarism. In a way it's a failure of the school as much as the student. If this student had other alternatives to bringing up his grades then he may have chosen a different path.

  5. Slade37 · 984 days ago

    He should have at least made the grade more believable. He got greedy. A "C" or whatever was needed to pass might have been less likely to be noticed.

    I guess he didn't watch The Simpsons. Bart changes "D-" on his report card to "A+," and both Lisa and Homer point out his mistake. Lisa said he should have changed it to a plausible grade. Homer points out that a "D" changes to a "B" easily. "You just got greedy."

  6. ufoolme · 984 days ago

    Or be smarter and dont get caught! Attempt to throw out the marking curve by lowering at random a good percentage of others mark, and hence boost your own. Double bonus if you don't like your fellow students.

  7. This is a really funny article. I hate to get enjoyment from someone else's suffering but this is funny. We live we learn, and I presume a $300 fine is not as bad as it could have been. The first time I've heard of using keylogging for this instance. Who knows what they'll think of next.

  8. Danijel · 984 days ago

    (No)Thanks to this skript-kiddie the university should be aware of the more tactical student hackers who possibly managed to pull that off and didn't get caught . He actually spent a few bucks to BUY a keylogger and almost succeeded in his plan, which still would be a low stake for more fruitful future. Yes, it really is funny how someones destiny can be woven by something so trivial but this is reality and is in everyones reach. The real question is; Is he to be blamed or the hole in the system?

  9. He's from PA, cheated in school and got away with a slap on the wrist. This kid qualifies to be Vice President of the United States.

  10. AnctRanger · 982 days ago

    Did you miss the part about 31 years old & still in school?

    • LLCJ826 · 981 days ago

      I'm 45 and still in school; did you have a point?

      If he were still in high school at 31 that may be an issue, but college at any age is respectable. I know people in their 60s still taking classes.

      Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes. - Peter Drucker

  11. ConservativePatriot · 982 days ago

    This is yet another pathetic example of what we have come to as a nation. We are in a state of advanced moral decay the likes of which have probably never been seen before. There is only one solution, and that is to return to a society based on Christian morality. Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are slim. In the absence of prevention, then, let us at least punish the offenders. $300 is lame; a larger fine and expulsion from the school would be more appropriate. Or are we so lacking in morality ourselves that we think this is "cute" or "clever"?

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About the author

Hi. I am a social, brand and communications expert with 10 years in senior roles in the tech space. I'm currently Sophos' s Global Director of Social Media and Communities. Proudest work achievement? Creating and launching award-winning Naked Security. Outside work, I am a mean cook, an avid reader, a chronic insomniac, a podcast obsessive and blogger .