A former student at the University of Iowa was arrested on computer-hacking charges for accessing copies of exams in advance, and altering grades for himself and his classmates.
Chemistry major and wrestler Trevor Graves, 22, allegedly plugged keyloggers into university computers in classrooms and labs, allowing him to see whatever his professors typed, including their credentials to the university’s grading system.
In a criminal complaint submitted to an Iowa district court, the FBI claims Graves had access to the school’s grading system, Iowa Courses Online (ICON), for nearly 21 months – between March 2015 and December 2016.
During this time, Graves was able to modify grades more than 90 times on tests, quizzes and homework assignments for himself and at least five other students.
One of Graves’ professors first reported the incident to campus IT security officials after noticing changes in his assignments and quiz scores without her authorization.
An investigation led to a search of his off-campus apartment where authorities seized keyloggers, cellphones and thumb drives that contained copies of the stolen exams.
Grades were allegedly changed for a number of classes, including courses in business, engineering and chemistry.
According to the New York Times, Graves was arrested in Denver last Tuesday and released on bond pending an initial court appearance in Iowa two days later.
The Colorado native is charged with “intentionally accessing a computer without authorization and exceeding authorized access to obtain information, and knowingly transmitting a computer program to cause damage.”
Court documents state the IT expenses associated with the internal investigation, response to the breach and remedial steps to enhance IT security will cost the university roughly $68,000.