NY High School Students Accused of Hacking Computer System to Change Grades

The three seniors are also accused of changing class schedules.

ByABC News
October 21, 2015, 12:01 PM

— -- Three high school seniors in New York are facing charges for allegedly hacking into their school’s computer system to change students’ grades and schedules, authorities said.

Officials say Daniel Soares, 17, used his cyber-skills to raise his own grades and those of a friend, as well as change the class schedules of hundreds of other students at Commack High School in Long Island, New York. His alleged accomplices -- Erick Vaysman and Alex Mosquera -- are also 17 and students at Commack High School.

“Types of information that may have been viewed include student ID numbers, name, address, contact information, and student schedules,” according to a statement from the Commack Union Free School District.

School district officials contacted police in July after discovering the unauthorized changes. Students’ schedules were corrected prior to distribution.

Soares, whom Suffolk County police Det. Sgt. John Best described as the group’s “ringleader,” is being charged with third-degree burglary, computer tampering, three counts of second-degree identity theft, one count of computer trespass and one count of eavesdropping.

“He’s actually the student who accessed the school district computer on each of the events they’re charged with,” Best alleged.

Authorities have accused Soares of attaching a device known as a keylogger to the keyboard of a school computer, allowing him to steal passwords that he later allegedly used to access the system.

Detectives say Soares changed several of his grades and at least one for Vaysman, who is charged with one count of third-degree computer tampering and one count of fourth-degree criminal solicitation.

Soares also allegedly changed another student’s schedule at Mosquera’s request. Mosquera is charged with one count of computer trespass and one count of fourth-degree criminal solicitation.

Soares’ defense attorney, George Duncan, would not share any details on the case, but said his client maintains his innocence.

When detectives executed a search warrant at Soares’ home last month, he went missing for four days. His parents pleaded on local media for him to come home.

Soares returned, and on Tuesday, turned himself in to police. Vaysman and Mosquera also surrendered Tuesday.

Vaysman's lawyer said "my client denies any allegations." Mosquera's mother declined to comment to ABC News and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.