CHINA - Hackers are claiming online they can break into computer systems belonging to universities and certification institutes and change the scores of students.
An online search in Chinese of "hackers editing scores" results in dozens of pages of hits. The hackers say they can change students' scores for a price - and charge between a few thousand yuan and more than 10,000 yuan (S$2045) for the illegal service, depending on the majors and universities involved.
A person answering the phone at one such site, who refused to reveal his name, told METRO he had helped several students. The slogan of his website was: "If you did badly in an examination, come to our hacker team."
When asked whether he could change the score for a failed subject at the University of International Business and Economics, he said it would not be a problem after checking out the university's homepage.
The man was very cautious and asked for the caller's "student number" before he would reveal the price.
According to the hacker, the operation takes between one and five working days and the price for a change to a single subject would be 1,600 yuan. The man claimed his team took care of every detail and would sign a confidentiality agreement with their customers after successfully breaking into the system and changing the score.
"Be careful to keep it secret during the deal," he warned. "If you show off to others, your score could be problematic."
A postgraduate student from the University of International Business and Economics, surnamed Li, said such services were very tempting to college students. He said he was disappointed with his score in Spanish last semester because it dragged down his average.
"Companies pay much attention to the scores applicants had in college when recruiting," he said. "Especially the State-owned ones."
Although he was tempted by the thought of having a better grade, he said he would not go to a hacker because he was concerned about the high price and possible consequences if the school found out.
Yu Xinwei, an expert in network security, said editing scores is technically possible.
"It depends on what means the hacker uses," he said. "The system records all regular operating, but if the hacker invades it by other means, such as by using its bugs without the system noticing, it could be possible not to leave any evidence of the change."
A staff member surnamed Wu with the Haidian Public Security Bureau said his office has not received any complaints about such illegal activity.
-China Daily/Asia News Network