Tutor teaches students to hack better grades

Some of America’s worst high school students are among our best hackers.

But some students fail at everything.

In California, 11 such students have been kicked out of Corona del Mar High after being caught hacking teachers’ computers to change grades and steal tests, reports The Orange County Register.

The punchline? The students all had the same tutor, who allegedly instructed them on how to install keystroke loggers on school computers.

It’s not known if the tutor is a former Atlanta educator, but his name is Timothy Lai and he’s made himself as scarce as an indicted superintendent.

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District school system is investigating more than 50,000 grade changes to see how many were performed by hackers.

I suppose it’s possible the tutor was running a criminal enterprise and paying the 11 students to change the grades of others.

If that scenario is true, I don’t know whether the tutor should be jailed or hired by the NSA.

If you can’t beat ‘em, hire ‘em.

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13 comments Add your comment


January 31st, 2014
9:15 am

I have a pretty well developed sense of humor but this story isn’t once that has me laughing.


January 31st, 2014
9:27 am

Aw, come on now. This entire hacking scheme to change grades is older that ’80s movie ‘War Games’ where they showed a kid doing it in the opening scenes. You’d think the school system would have better computer security, since this idea has been around more than 30 years!


January 31st, 2014
9:29 am

At least teacher attempted to instruct, and students apparently studied.


January 31st, 2014
10:01 am

This is why we are losing the manfacturing base in this country. We are raising stupid citizens.


January 31st, 2014
11:17 am

When I was in school in the dark ages the grades were handwritten on a report card that went home to be signed by mon n’ dad then was returned to teacher. Hacking was impossible.

Hidden agenda

January 31st, 2014
2:22 pm

I think we have more than enough criminals in the NSA already.

Hidden agenda

January 31st, 2014
2:24 pm

If Romney is actually leading in the polls for the GOP nomination for 2016 then it shows clearly that the GOP will never change and that its time for people there who still care about small government, sound economics, free markets, and a sound foreign policy to abandon the GOP for the Libertarian Party, Constitution Party or start something else that will actually work for the future of America instead of being part of the two-party problem/conspiracy that has destroyed this country on behalf of the banksters and the death merchants.


January 31st, 2014
3:31 pm

Did not think the comment about the tutor being an Atlanta teacher was funny at all!!! To me any form of cheating is wrong and unacceptable—–just tell the story and leave off the so called comical reference to the cheating scandal which has been a tragedy

Hidden agenda

January 31st, 2014
3:58 pm

George, I thought the comment was great. But let’s face it, it was only the APS teachers that got caught. The problem is clearly nationwide. NCLB provided all the wrong incentives that encouraged horrible behavior. Just another reason why the federal government (well, no government really) should have anything to do with education.

Full britches

January 31st, 2014
7:47 pm

Well said, George. Hilarious references to APS, that are totally fair. While the cheating is wrong and will be followed up and prosecuted, you have to laugh at this or cry. I now live in the OC near Newport Beach and judging by how unbelievably stupid and self-absorbed the local students are (in general, not all). They need help with their grades so they can finish HS and live off Daddy’s money. Lord knows most are incapable of earning a living except on an insipid reality tv show.

Another comment

January 31st, 2014
9:38 pm

When when I was a TA 30 years ago I caught the students in my class hacking into my grade book in the engineering computer library. In those days the colleges assigned used IDs which consisted of your last name and first two letters of your first name. They may have had the professors on a different. Security levels, but everyone knew the truth then and now that TA’s which are other students who are either working on a Masters or a PHD are doing the grading and or teaching the sections of the big classes. So the professors can do their research, right grants and bring in real money. 31 years ago was prior to the real NCCA division 1 football money even with Number 1 draft choices, peach bowl wins etc. they didn’t thinks 31 years ago, that having the TA’s in the same student pool of IDs with all the other students, would be a security problem. After all in 1982, even engineering students were still using Fortran. One year away from having to do punch cards. You had to all go to the computer lab to a terminal tied into the main frame. I walk in to the computer lab, the guy to my left and the guy to my right have my grade book pulled up. Then. I look around the room, I taught CPM scheduling! construction project scheduling. The whole project schedule was on under my access, every nod and link in the correct order. interesting site, when 90 % of the room tries to rapidly exit out of a program? not so easy in 1982. I caught them before they were able to do much harm.

Now the other TA who was working for his PHD, not so lucky they hacked in to it on his watch, the CPM program, he crashed it and also brought down a contractor in a major city who had paid the university to develop it.

As long as computers has been along students have been hacking them to change their grades.

Jack ®

February 1st, 2014
4:32 pm

Enter your comments here

Jack ®

February 1st, 2014
4:38 pm

All is not lost: I have a 12-year-old granddaughter who took the SAT back in December. She took it at Duke University’s invitation and scored 30% higher than high school students who took the test at the same time. Her score was 1342. Of course, she’ll be required to take the test again before she enters college.