The All-Time Best University Hacks
In the wake of the Florida State meatspin troll, we rank the best school hacks. And we don't mean the teachers
This morning news emerged of a Florida State University Panama City student who hacked his school’s wifi network and redirected all traffic to the notorious Meatspin.com. Benjamin Blouin, the student and master troll, is now facing felony charges for a crime he said was meant to raise awareness about the risks associated with having an open network.
He may not be Robin Hood, but Blouin’s antics may be the most LOL-worthy hack in education history. Motherboard tried to find acts that trump the Florida sausage fest, and none beat Blouin's. But a few come close.
1. The Grade Changer
Savvy students at several college campuses that have (somewhat) hacked their schools' systems to give their report cards unwarranted extra credit. In 2010, an Albany State University student used his job at the Information Technology Department to gain access to the school’s grading system. He changed four grades, got caught, and was subsequently expelled and put on two year’s probation. Rumor has it his employee-of-the-month award has since been dismissed. Santa Clara University experienced a similar hack, but that time the hacker changed over 60 students grades, attempting to play grade god.
2. The Anxious Registrant
Last year a student at University of Texas used High Orbit Ion Cannon—the program used by the hacker group, Anonymous, to crash websites—to flood the school’s website during registration week. He was arrested with bail set at $20,000—a major penalty, but totally worth it if he managed to snag that last seat in the school’s popular Ethics course.
3. Cheating Via Hack
In an elaborate hack this past fall, a Liverpool John Moores student set up a fake website to get professors’ and students’ login information. He then sent emails from professors’ accounts, asking for their colleagues’ exam papers. After all this, the hacker failed to obtain the actual exam he was hoping to steal—seriously.
4. Anonymous University
In protest to rising tuition rates, several student "hacktivists" who called themselves Team Ghostshell broke into hundreds of university servers throughout the United States in October, including servers at the University of Michigan, Princeton and Harvard. The team wasn’t caught, but it probably shook the various colleges' IT departments to their hard-wired cores.
5. The Election Rigger
About a year ago, a junior at California State San Marcos named Matt Weaver was arrested on suspicion of election fraud, identity theft, and unlawful breaking-and-entering, right before the election for student government in which Weaver was running for class president. The FBI got involved on this case, and it’s safe to say Weaver wasn’t elected. Too bad, we imagine he could have mounted a hell of a thrice-weekly Pizza Day campaign for the San Marcos cafeterias.
Not to sound like a parent, but maybe these clever hackers should have put their brains into completing a Computer Science degree. At least Anonymous might have some promising new recruits.