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F's changed to A's via computer system
Some things never change. Of course, such deltoid mischief was
for "educational" purposes, not changing of grades... :-)
Here's the article from the News Journal. Dan Grim is quoted.
Student accused of grade scam at UD
F's changed to A's via computer system
By DENNIS THOMPSON JR.
A University of Delaware student has been charged with breaking into the
school computer system three times in June to give herself passing grades,
according to university police.
Darielle Insler, a 22-year-old junior, allegedly gained access to the
school's computer system twice by impersonating her instructors in phone
calls to human resources employees, UD police officer Charles J. Wilson said
in a court affidavit. She allegedly requested a new password for each
instructor, and then logged into the system using their new passwords.
She also allegedly gained access to the system once by guessing another
teacher's password, court documents said.
Insler would not comment when reached by telephone Monday at her home in
Leonia, N.J., saying "the case has not gone to court yet, so I'm not speaking
Insler is charged with altering her grades in a math class and a science
class from F's to A's, the police affidavit said. She also allegedly altered
an incomplete grade to a passing grade for an education class focusing on
literature and literacy. The grade changes happened in the first three weeks
of June, after the university's spring semester was over.
Insler is charged with multiple counts of identity theft, criminal
impersonation, unauthorized access of a computer system and misuse of
information on a computer system. She is free on $5,500 bail awaiting trial
in Delaware Superior Court.
Cynthia Cummings, associate vice president for campus life, said she could
not comment on any disciplinary action the university might consider against
Insler, who is still a student.
Gerry Turkel, president of the Delaware chapter of the American Association
of University Professors, said the offense is serious and the university
needs to take steps to insure its computer systems are secure.
"The integrity of the grading system has to be protected," he
said. "Otherwise, ultimately you could undermine the value of a degree from
Computer break-ins to alter grades are rare at the University of Delaware and
other colleges nationwide, experts said Monday.
Dan Grim, executive director of network and systems services for UD, said
this is the first such incident he is aware of in his 26 years at the Newark
The same is true nationally, said Sheldon Steinbach, general counsel for the
American Council on Education, an association of colleges and universities.
"Schools have become increasingly sophisticated over the last decade in
protecting valuable institutional information," Steinbach said.
But the sort of tactics Insler allegedly used are commonly employed by people
breaking into computer systems, said Capt. David Citro, unit commander of the
Delaware State Police's High Technology Crimes Unit.
"It's the easier way, because you don't really need the computer expertise or
know-how," he said. "Instead of handling the computer, you're handling the
Bruce Raker, the manager of UD's Management Information Service, said his
office has responded by installing an e-mail procedure that will notify an
employee when his or her password is changed.
But Raker, who helped track down Insler by tracing the computers she
allegedly used, said human resources should not have changed the password.
"They're not supposed to do this over the phone," he said.
Cummings said the university's security measures are being reviewed.
Posing as math instructor Lauren Goggins, Insler allegedly called human
resources on June 4 and asked to change her password, court documents said.
The human resources worker complied, even though she later told police the
voice on the phone sounded "young, high-pitched, and desperate," according to
Insler allegedly changed her science grade on June 5, after she guessed the
password of her teacher, Omar Guerrero, court documents said.
On June 19, as university police were investigating the first two grade
changes, the human resources office received a call from a young female
identifying herself as instructor Eleanor Kaufmann and requesting a new
password for her account. The human resources officials changed the password,
then alerted police.
Police called Raker and told him that someone soon would access Kaufmann's
account. Within an hour, someone had changed Insler's grade in Kaufmann's
class using the teacher's new password to log in, court documents said.