Two Charged with Hacking PeopleSoft to Fix Grades

greensnacks

Registered User
Dec 20, 2004
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#1
I love how the media sensationalizes "hacking" stories. I can't comment, but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Two California men are facing 20 years in prison on charges they hacked into a California state university's PeopleSoft system to change their grades.

In an October 25 grand jury indictment, John Escalera, 29, and Gustavo Razo, 28, were charged with using Escalera's position within California State University, Fresno's IT help desk center to gain access to the university's grades database.

The men could face 20 years in prison and US$250,000 in fines if convicted of the eleven counts on the indictment, which includes charges of unauthorized computer access, identity theft, conspiracy and wire fraud.

Though they are charged with identity theft, a university spokeswoman could not immediately say whether or not sensitive information such as social security numbers had been compromised during the crime.

According to the indictment, Escalera used "computer hacking techniques" to acquire the password of a supervisor and then used this account to get access to usernames and passwords used by the university's Web-based PeopleSoft academic record system, hosted at a Unisys data center in Salt Lake City, Utah. PeopleSoft products are sold by Oracle.

Escalera allegedly obtained user name and passwords for the university's registrar, extension academic program registrar, academic records coordinator and others, and used these passwords to bump up his own grades as well as those of his friend, Razo, who paid cash for the grade change.

The grades were changed several times between January and June of 2004, the indictment states.

The university had recently updated to PeopleSoft from a legacy system known as the Student Information Management System/Relational (SIMS/R) database, and IT staff finally caught wind of the problem during a routine audit designed to check the accuracy of the conversion.
 

burky79

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Feb 18, 2005
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#3
how is the media sensationalizing it, seems as though the report lists the facts?

why can't you comment are you too close to the situation, or do you work for oracle?

:huh:

cool story for sure... just confused on your comments (and lack of).

thats all.

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heres the PC World story too

by Robert McMillan, IDG News Service

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The San Fransico Chronicle story from Friday (11-02-2007)

Henry K. Lee said:
Two former Fresno State University students have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that they were involved in a scheme to change transcript grades for cash payments, a case that bears similarities to a scandal at a Pleasant Hill community college.

John Escalera, 29, of Fresno and Gustavo Razo Jr., 28, of Pasadena were indicted on charges of conspiracy, honest services wire fraud, identity theft and unauthorized computer access.

Escalera pleaded not guilty Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Gary Austin in Fresno, court records show. Razo pleaded not guilty Thursday. Both were ordered to return to court Nov. 16.

Escalera, who had been a Fresno State student employee at the help desk of the university's information technology unit, hacked into the university's computer system in 2004 to obtain names and passwords of people who had grade-changing authority, federal prosecutors said. He then obtained user names and accompanying passwords for the registrar and assistant registrar, authorities said.

Escalera then signed on from remote computer locations to change grades for himself and Razo, a friend, investigators said.

Razo paid Escalera in cash to make grade changes, said the indictment, which didn't specify a dollar amount. The grade changes were discovered during a routine audit.

The alleged crimes are similar to a grade-changing scandal at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill.


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greensnacks

Registered User
Dec 20, 2004
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#5
First off, PeopleSoft/Oracle wasn't hacked, so the title of the article is misleading.

Another media outlet wrote:
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.
*yuck*

Imagine that an individual can call the bank to have their online password reset. This means the bank employee has the ability to reset passwords. Would anyone describe the bank employee as a hacker?
 

burky79

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Feb 18, 2005
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#6
First off, PeopleSoft/Oracle wasn't hacked, so the title of the article is misleading.

Another media outlet wrote:
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
*yuck*

Imagine that an individual can call the bank to have their online password reset. This means the bank employee has the ability to reset passwords. Would anyone describe the bank employee as a hacker?

Okay, let me see if I understand this.

1. You say the Peoplesoft program wasn't hacked.
Q. Do you say this because of the method used to access user names/passwords, since Escalera worked at the Help Desk? (i.e.- social engineering vs software hacking)

2. I would say the person who called the bank is the hacker, since they used information to change an access point. I wouldn't say the bank employee is a hacker, unless they were in on it.

on another note, here is a link to the PDF of the Indictment.
 

Myhairygrundle

Screw you guys, I'm going home.
Jul 16, 2005
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#7
I remember as a kid trying to make a "6" into an "8" on a hand written report card.

Also trying to change a "D" into a "B"

Got caught every fucking time.
 

burky79

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Feb 18, 2005
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#8
I remember as a kid trying to make a "6" into an "8" on a hand written report card.

Also trying to change a "D" into a "B"

Got caught every fucking time.
hahaha
:icon_lol:
thx 4 breeenging da fu-knee 2 da thrd ;)
 

Mother Shucker

I'm over here now.
Oct 13, 2004
20,450
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Your Mom's box.
#9
When I was a kid in Seattle back in the 80's, I changed my grades AND my chicks. Then I hacked into a site that I thought was a game site and it turned out to be a government defense site. I almost started WWIII, but Dr. Falken and I was able to stop Joshua by playing tic tac toe.
 

burky79

62 75 72 6b 79 37 39
Feb 18, 2005
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#10
When I was a kid in Seattle back in the 80's, I changed my grades AND my chicks. Then I hacked into a site that I thought was a game site and it turned out to be a government defense site. I almost started WWIII, but Dr. Falken and I was able to stop Joshua by playing tic tac toe.
I would believe you David, but incorrect grammar confuses James Ackerman.

:action-sm