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Purdue professors hacked; 3 accused of changing grades

– 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 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, Shirasaki and Sharma.

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.

Shirasaki changed 24 grades, including 13 F’s to nine A’s and four B’s, according to the affidavits. He also is accused of changing one of his grades from an A to an A-plus, and switching the grade of his girlfriend, Xiaonan Jing, from an A to an A-plus.

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 probe 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 Shirasaki 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.

Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington said Shirasaki has not been arrested because he is in Japan.

Tippecanoe County Jail staff said Sharma was released on bail in May and Sun on Friday.