http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/living/community/4754902.htm By Larry Slonaker Mercury News December 16, 2002 Reid Ellison, an 11th-grader at Anzar High School in San Juan Bautista, recently decided a cool student project would be to hack into the school's computer grading system. So he presented the idea to school administrators, and they gave him the go-ahead. He hacked his way in without difficulty. Once there, he wanted to leave a footprint to prove he had been successful. But he couldn't artificially bump up his grades -- he already had a straight-A average. His solution? Lower his grades. He dropped himself from a 4.0 grade-point average to 1.9. ``It was kind of the opposite of what most people would do,'' he said Monday. Reid's project was an Anzar ``exhibition.'' The school requires students to create six exhibitions to graduate. The projects, which have both a written and oral component, ``are supposed to be issue-based, not topic-based,'' said Wayne Norton, Reid's adviser. ``They're not just reports.'' Students' exhibitions have to touch on six subject areas, and Reid hit three in his hacking report -- history, science and math. (Part 2 of his written report was, ``The History of Hacking.'') Last week he gave a presentation on his project to his three evaluators. They gave him a perfect score. As it turned out, doing the report was the hard part of the project. The hacking was easy. ``I had a pretty good idea that it wasn't the best security system,'' Reid said. Once he had his hacking program in place, figuring out the password ``didn't take too long -- 200 milliseconds.'' He didn't tell any fellow students he had been successful until the administration had a chance to change the password. The school is taking other steps to shore up its security, too. ``We're aware we've got a hole that needs to be plugged,'' Norton said. After his hacking venture was recorded, Reid remembered perhaps the most important stage of the project. He made sure his grades were adjusted back up. He obviously didn't get that 4.0 by accident. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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