Remember that famous scene in War Games when David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) used an IMSAI 60 computer to change his grades, along with Jennifer Mack (Ally Sheedy)?
Well, times may have changed but as every hacker knows, no system is ever 100% secure.
So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that an unknown hacker managed to access Santa Clara University’s (SCU) academic records database and improve the grades of more than 60 former and current undergraduate students.
The digital infiltration has caught the attention of none other than the FBI, which is currently “assisting” in the ongoing investigation.
“We are taking [the incident] quite seriously,” Dennis Jacobs, Santa Clara’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, told the Mercury News.
“We are reviewing and enhancing all security measures to reduce the likelihood of any intrusion in the future.”
According to SCU reps, the hack was “particularly sophisticated,” as it was only discovered when a former student came forward about a transcript discrepancy. Although grades cannot be altered without following a string of bureaucratic procedures, SCU has confirmed numerous unauthorized grade changes on student transcripts across all three of the University’s schools going back to 2006.
The hacker apparently accessed the system sometime between June 2010 and July 2011, making changes that range from subtle upgrades to major alterations that turned F’s into A’s. Interestingly enough, there was no obvious pattern to the grade changes.
Both the FBI and school officials refused to comment on the identities of any suspects, even after SCU student Mark Loiseau confirmed that agents carrying his Verizon phone records had knocked on his door at 2AM and started asking “pointed questions.”
“Holy shit! Three federal agents just came over to my apartment and grilled me about some hacking scandal at SCU,” Loiseau wrote on Facebook.
“My cousin comes out and starts scolding them for being rude. [And] the best part was when the agent was like ‘we just want the truth,’ and my roommate was like ‘you can’t handle the truth.’”