3 charged with hacking into Purdue profs’ accounts; changing grades
June 14, 2013 12:42PM
Updated: June 14, 2013 11:22PM
WEST LAFAYETTE — A Purdue University graduate and two former students accused of breaking into their professors’ computer accounts to change grades are facing criminal charges.
Roy Chaoran Sun, 25, of Andover, Mass., and Mitsutoshi Shirasaki, 24, and Sujay Sharma, 24, both of West Lafayette, are charged with conspiracy to commit computer tampering, conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit computer trespass. The charges originally were filed in April, but were unsealed and made public Thursday afternoon, the Journal & Courier reported on Friday.
A call to the prosecutor’s office seeking comment was not returned to The Associated Press on Friday. No phone listings could be found for Sun, Shiraski and Sharma. A spokeswoman at the Tippecanoe Superior Court said there was no indication they had hired attorneys.
According to probable cause affidavits, Sun, an electrical engineering student, changed seven F’s and one D to eight A’s. He is accused of changing the first grade, the D, in December 2008.
Shiraski changed 24 grades, including 13 F’s to 9 A’s and 4 B’s, according to the affidavits. He also is accused of changing one of his grades from an A to an A+, and switching the grade of his girlfriend, Xiaonan Jing, from an A to an A+.
Sharma, a nuclear engineering major, is accused of having just one grade changed — a D to an A in an engineering course, the affidavits state. He’s also accused of accessing course tests and acting as Shirasaki’s lookout.
The investigation began when an engineering professor contacted the university’s information technology security services department in November because someone had changed his password. He reported it happened again in December.
According to the affidavits, Jing said Shiraski told her he changed his grades and her grade. She said he did it by picking the locks of the professors’ offices and installing key logging devices he would later use to obtain their login and password information.
Sharma told police in February that he acted as a lookout when Shiraski picked locks to get into the professors’ offices, according to the affidavits. He said Shiraski bought locks and practiced picking them.
Purdue police searched Shiraski’s apartment on Feb. 5 and found a key logging device and a lock-picking tool set, the affidavits state. Shiraski told authorities Sun told him how to change the grades in the fall of 2009 and that Shiraski acted as the lookout for Sun.
Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington said Shiraski has not yet been arrested because he is in Japan. Tippecanoe County Jail staff said Sharma was released on bail in May and Sun on Friday.
Purdue Police Chief John Cox said Sun is a graduate student at Boston University, and police are sharing information about the investigation with officials there.
Shirasaki and Sharma most recently were seniors at Purdue, but are no longer students there, said Jeffery Stefancic, associate dean of students. Stefancic said Sun’s degree is being reviewed, and a hearing will be held to give him an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Last month, Purdue adopted a process for degree revocation policy.
An internal audit of grade changes found no other anomalies, Cox said.