High School Students Suspected of Hacking, Changing Grades

Computer security breach suspected at Churchill High

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    Montgomery County Public Schools confirmed Thursday that the system is investigating the possibility that students hacked computers to change grades.

    Officials believe students attached a USB device to three teachers' computers in order to learn their passwords and then get in to the system to change grades, News4's Pat Collins reported. At least someone's been getting a good education in computer technology.

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    Jackie Bensen reports that as many as 50 students may have been involved, and some students actually lowered the grades of their "enemies." (Published Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010)

    As many as 50 students are believed to have knowledge of the scheme, but it is unknown how many grades have been changed and how long it has been going on.

    Sources told the Washington Post that the hackers are students at Churchill High School in Potomac, Md.

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    The incident prompted an emergency staff meeting at Churchill High School, a top school in one of the nation's premier public systems, and a recorded phone message to parents Wednesday saying that grades might have been corrupted by the hackers.

    Teachers alerted school administration to the situation, the extent of which is unknown, the Post reported.

    Sources told the Post teachers have been instructed to change their passwords immediately -- and more frequently.

    Teachers were told to check grades for anomalies and correct them before first semester report cards are released Feb. 3, according to the sources. But because teachers at the school no longer keep separate log books of their grades, it might be difficult to go back and find a student's original grade, the sources said.

    Several students are being interviewed about the alleged incident. If the scheme is confirmed and suspects identify, they face severe punishment from the school system, school spokesman Dana Tofig told Collins. Police are not involved and might not be called.