Georgia student arrested for hacking grades, VoIP

Student charged with hacking school's computers to change his grades, and eavesdropping on VoIP calls.

A 19-year-old Cartersville, Georgia, college student has been charged with hacking into his school's computer system to change grades and steal other user's passwords.

Christopher Fowler, a student at Georgia Highlands College, used the login credentials of one of the school's teachers to access the school's computer network, authorities say. He also allegedly hacked the school's VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) telephone system. "He got one password from a math professor with the keystroke logger. That gave him access to a lot of administrative machines," said college spokeswoman Dana Davis. "He actually ended up recording conversations, which needless to say freaked out a few people."

Fowler, a computer enthusiast, hung around the school's IT department and is known to staffers there, Davis said. It's not clear that he did anything malicious with the information he collected from his hacking, she added. "It's such a tragedy, this kid had his whole life ahead of him, and this is what he chose."

He was charged Friday with computer trespass and unlawful eavesdropping under state laws, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

College IT staff were tipped off to the breach last week when they noticed anomalies in the system's e-mail traffic. Georgia Highland has more than 2,000 computers on its network.

The college is now tightening up network security and plans to encrypt traffic on its VoIP system to make eavesdropping more difficult, Davis said. But that's a difficult task, she added. "When the breach occurs from an internal source, the problem becomes thornier," she said.

Meanwhile, two other teenagers are facing more serious charges for changing grades at their Orange County, California, high school. Omar Khan and Tanvir Singh are due to be arraigned Tuesday on hacking and burglary charges for allegedly breaking into their high school and accessing the computer system. Khan is facing nearly 40 years in prison on the charges.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?