Singapore

SMU student jailed for hacking into professors' accounts to delete exam scripts

He gets two months' jail for deleting his and 18 other students' exam scripts

A Singapore Management University (SMU) Juris Doctor programme student deleted his and 18 fellow students' exam scripts when he realised he would not do very well, a court heard on Feb 4.

Georgy Kotsaga, 32, thought that by deleting the scripts, he would get a chance to take the exam again.

But SMU's IT system makes real-time back-ups, so all the exam scripts were recovered .

Yesterday, the Russian student was jailed for two months after he admitted to unauthorised access to computer material and unauthorised modification of computer material.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo said that on Nov 24, Kotsaga and 18 others took the final exam for a Law of Property module at SMU in Victoria Street, through the eLearn system.

Kotsaga's offences came to light when a student e-mailed the university to say that the system showed that she had not completed the exam.

Checks found that there were no scripts whereas the database history showed 19 scripts. Investigations showed that the account "hwtang", belonging to Professor Tang Hang Wu, had deleted the 19 scripts.

The device used to delete them was traced to Kotsaga's account. The "hwtang" account was also used to access the account of another law professor, Professor Zhang Wei.

DPP Khoo said Kotsaga was worried that his 3.09 grade point average would fall below 3.0 after the exam.

He plugged a USB hardware keylogger into the common desktop computers in the professors' classrooms and got their user IDs and passwords.

On Nov 24, when he was taking the exam, he had difficulty answering the questions. He went to the toilet and used his iPhone to access the eLearn Instructor account of Prof Tang and viewed the scripts of the other students taking the exam.

Later that day, he accessed the account again to view the exam script of another student. He realised he would not do very well and deleted all 19 exam scripts.

Kotsaga could have been fined up to $5,000 and jailed for up to two years for unauthorised access, and fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to three years for unauthorised modification. - The Straits Times.