State police probe 2 student hackers' entry to school files Employees' personal data altered in payroll files

January 15, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

State police and prosecutors have not yet determined what prompted two North Carroll High student hackers to crack security codes to Board of Education electronic payroll files and alter employees' personal information last week.

Sgt. Laura Lu Herman, a spokeswoman, said troopers from the state police Computer Crimes Unit will check all school system payroll computer files to determine if other records were altered.

The two students have been questioned, but no charges have been filed, prosecutor Edward J. Puls Jr. said yesterday. Authorities have not determined if the hackers had some malicious intent, he said.

Illegally accessing a computer system is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $1,000, police said.

Investigators were called Friday by school officials after Board of Education employees printing weekly paychecks noticed something was awry, Herman said.

Alterations to employees' birth dates essentially confused the computer, she said. The computer was receiving conflicting messages -- to print and not print -- some checks, Herman said.

Investigators were able to trace the electronic path that hackers took to break security codes and determined computers in the Hampstead school were used.

Pub Date: 1/15/98

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