Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Selling their skills

Teenage crackers known to be involved in for-profit modification of electronic grade books (McMillan, 2011). McMillan describes Tyler Coyner, a student that inflated his GPA to 4.54 while also selling grade increases to his peers. Until he was arrested, Coyner spent two semesters performing attacks on the grade records in exchange for cash. He even graduated salutatorian based on his manipulations (McMillan, 2011).

Financial gain as a cyber crime motivator is not rare, although the monetization is achieved through other means. Attackers often harvest directly monetizable data such as credit card information and online banking credentials. Another method is extortion, or protection money, where a botnet operator threatens a distributed denial of service attack unless the victim pays the extortion cost (Dittrich & Himma, 2006). Extremely rare, relative to other financial cybercrimes, is mercenary attacks, like the kind Coyner was selling (McMillan, 2011).

Dittrich, D., & Himma, K. E. (2006). Hackers, Crackers, and Computer Criminals. Bidgoli, Hossein: Handbook of information security-Information warfare; social, legal and international issues, 154-171.

McMillan. (March 4, 2011). Top Student Charged With Fixing Grades for Cash. PCWorld. Retrieved from: http://www.pcworld.com/article/221442/studentcharged.html

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