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Hack database, change school grades, go to jail for 20 years (maybe)

Peoplesoft hack, allegedly

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It's the stuff of movies such as War Games but two California men accused of hacking into a University database system to change their grades face up to 20 years imprisonment.

John Escalera, 29, and Gustavo Razo, 28, are charged (PDF) with conspiring together to increase their marks by manipulating California State University at Fresno's PeopleSoft-based database. The duo allegedly took advantage of Escalera's position as a help desk worker to pull off the hack.

Escalera allegedly used unspecified hacking techniques to acquire a supervisor password. He used this illicit access to inflate his grades and those of his friend, Razo, who paid for the "boost" in his academic scores.

Their grades were allegedly changed several times between January and June 2004. Evidence that led to the indictment came about from a routine audit performed to check the accuracy of the conversion of data following a database upgrade from a legacy to PeopleSoft-based system.

Escalera and Razo face charges of computer hacking, identity theft, conspiracy, and wire fraud offences punishable for a lengthy jail term as well as fines of up to $250K, IDG reports. ®

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