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July 1, 2014

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Uni hackers charged for editing PE run records

TWO students who hacked into their university’s database to alter “morning run” records on behalf of their classmates have been charged with damaging a computer network, the Songjiang District prosecutors office said yesterday.

The pair, surnamed Zhou and Cao, from Shanghai Lixin University of Commerce, said they earned 25,000 yuan (US$4,000) from their many customers.

“We knew it was wrong, but we never thought it was a crime,” they told prosecutors.

“We just wanted to make some pocket money.”

Under the university’s rules, students are required to complete a number of 1,500-meter runs over the course of the year in order to pass the PE course.

Male students are required to complete 20 runs per semester and females 18. Each student has an electronic card that they swipe at the start and finish of each run, so the data can be recorded on the database.

Fearing he would fail his PE course after not completing enough runs, computer expert Zhou set about beating the system by hacking into the database and editing his file.

After successfully doing so, several schoolmates offered him cash to do the same for them.

When budding entrepreneur Cao heard about the scam, he offered to help Zhou promote it, leaving his accomplice more time for the actual hacking.

The partners in crime charged 10-20 yuan for each hack, and in the four months through March earned about 25,000 yuan.

Zhou took 19,000 yuan as the hacker and Cao 6,000 yuan as the deal-maker.

When in March the school discovered what was going on, the duo were reported to police.


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