Purdue students arrested in key logging scam to change grades


Detailed by the Indianapolis Star, three Purdue students have been charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors related to a scheme to change their class grades from failing scores to a collection of A’s and Bs. 24-year-old Roy Chaoran Sun, 24-year-old Mitsutoshi Shirasaki and 24-year-old Sujay Sharma used key logging devices to collect passwords from their class professors in order to access the school’s record keeping system for grades. The three face charges of conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit computer tampering and conspiracy to commit computer trespass.

sharma-sun-mug-shotsIn order to get access to a professor’s keyboard, the trio would break into a professor’s office on the Purdue campus and replace the keyboard with an identical model. After installing a key logging device within the keyboard, the amateur burglary team would break back into the offices in order to swap the original keyboard back onto the professor’s desk.

According to police, the three men would move out of sight of the cameras in the building to avoid detection. When the professor would return to his office, the team would simply wait for the professor to type out his passwords.

The first set of grade changes occurs during May 2008 when Sun, an electrical engineering major at the time, altered his nine F’s and one incomplete into a set of passing grades. Shirasaki, an aeronautics and astronautics major, also allegedly altered 24 grades over his four years at Purdue. Not only satisfied with changing failing grades to passing scores, Shirasaki also modified grades in classes where he received an A already; specifically bumping it up to an A+. Sharma, a nuclear engineering major, only changed a single grade from a D to an A and acted as the lookout during the keyboard thefts.

purdue-engineeringPurdue’s IT department started to get wind of the potential security leak after a professor complained about his password being changed. Once the IT department identified when the password was altered, they also noticed a grade had been changed as well.

School officials were able to identify Shirasaki after the student logged into the Purdue wireless network under his own account in order to change the grade.

While Shirasaki is currently in Japan, both Sharma and Sun were arrested by police. Sharma, facing less severe charges when arrested in May, posted $5,000 in bail on the day after his arrest. Sun, arrested last week, remains in jail due to a much larger $125,000 surety and $125,000 cash bond. Sun is a graduate student at Boston University, but it’s likely that the university will kick him out of the program due to these charges. 

According to school officials, the validity of Sun’s degree will be undergoing a degree revocation hearing in which Sun will be given an opportunity to speak about his actions. In addition, the school went through an internal audit of all grade changes over the last few years in order to look for more possible hacking. No issues have been found with any grade changes beyond the incidents involving Sun, Shirasaki and Sharma.

Movies & TV

The best Christmas TV episodes and specials

To help get you in the spirit of the season, we've compiled a list of the best Christmas TV episodes and specials. Whether it's free episodes on your favorite streaming service, or stop-motion classics, look no further.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Is your PC slow? Here's how to restore Windows 10 to factory settings

Computers rarely work as well after they accumulate files and misconfigure settings. Thankfully, with this guide, you'll be able to restore your PC to its original state by learning how to factory reset Windows.

The Titan RTX graphics card is nearly here. Here's what you need to know

The Nvidia Titan RTX is arguably the most powerful consumer graphics card ever made, even if it's not really aimed at consumers. It bridges the 2080 Ti and RTX Quadro cards with boat loads of power.

Looking for an Apple MacBook below $900? Woot has you covered

If you're looking for a great deal on an Apple MacBook, then Amazon's Woot may just have what you have been seeking. It has Macbooks available for only $810 with Intel M3 CPUs, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSDs.

Leak reveals that Nvidia’s RTX 2060 gaming chipsets will be headed to laptops

The latest leaks of Nvidia's upcoming RTX 2060 have given performance benchmarks and further detail about the future chipset and its capabilities, while a RTX 2060 Max-Q variant has also been discovered for thin and light gaming machines.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.

New rumors say the Pixelbook 2 could show up at CES 2019

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

Finding a decent laptop is easy, but finding one under $1,000 is a bit tricky. Luckily, we've taken some of the guesswork out of picking out a budget laptop. Here are some of our favorites, the best laptops under $1,000.

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…

Supermicro investigation: no spy chips found on our motherboards

Supermicro announced the results of an investigation into the controversy surrounding its motherboards. The investigation was launched in response to reports that alleged the motherboards were compromised with malicious hardware.