Computer Crime Research Center


Punishment fits the crime for these hackers

Date: March 13, 2005
Source: The Daily Dispatch

More than 150 college applicants - including one who applied to Duke University - have been rejected by their chosen schools as unfit for admission. What did they lack? Integrity.

The suspects all took advantage of computer-hacking instructions posted at an online forum for the magazine BusinessWeek. The Web site post was a road map on how to break into the application software used by many business schools. Many of the attempts reportedly were unsuccessful. Even when students did hack in successfully, they apparently knew they would be unable to influence the outcome of their application and only wanted to see if they'd been admitted.

In each case, we're pleased to tell them, the answer now is "no."

"Attempting to circumvent safeguards around private information is wrong and is certainly inconsistent with what we expect from our students," said Liz Riley, assistant dean and director of admissions for the Duke MBA program, in a statement prepared in response to the university's discovery of its lone offending applicant.

Similar decisions were made at Harvard University, where 119 people hacked the system, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which rejected 32 of its own hackers.

This newspaper in the past has advocated harsher criminal penalties for computer hackers. In this case, even if no legal action is taken against the applicants, we feel the punishment befits the crime.

Applicants to upper-tier schools such as Harvard, MIT and Duke often have so much emotionally invested in their college choice that snatching it away from them in retaliation hurts far more than a minor criminal charge or a petty fine.

But hey, at least they've learned something from this particular college experience.

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Discussion is closed - view comments archieve
2006-05-05 18:23:48 - come on! they didnt do any harm! and yes... Revolutionary
2006-02-07 15:49:54 - It's disgusting to see how many people are... Disgusted
2005-08-12 20:26:24 - WHO CARES! They wanted to see if they got... Acid Burn
2005-03-13 16:06:10 - dear i know i ask u that morie but plz... dil
Total 4 comments
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