Student hacks into UW-Whitewater computers

By Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Dec. 4, 2006, 11:38 a.m.)

A student hacked into the campus computers of four UW-Whitewater staffers and was able to gain access to sensitive information, including passwords, student disciplinary discussions and exam answers, according to a criminal complaint.

Michael W. Mraz Jr., a student at the university through last spring, was charged with two felony computer crimes and burglary and faces more than 19 years in prison if convicted.

According to the complaint, Mraz installed "Keylogger" software on at least four computers by downloading it from his university-issued flash drive, a portable data storage device. Mraz worked in the Resident Life office.

When installed, Keylogger software captures the keystrokes of the computer's user as well as screenshots of locations that the user might visit. The hacker can monitor the program remotely to decipher the user IDs and passwords and then gain access to programs they are otherwise not allowed to use.

According to the complaint, Mraz had a text file and logged keystrokes of four university employees on his flash drive. Mraz also had a CD with more logged keystrokes, an exam with correct answers, student disciplinary discussions and information pertinent to a police investigation.

Mraz allegedly collected the data between March 20 and May 10.

Surveillance videos captured Mraz allegedly downloading the software onto one university computer.

University officials discovered that the program was installed on one computer in Goodhue Hall about 1:40 p.m. on April 23. They reviewed surveillance footage and identified Mraz as the only person in the room with the computer on that date, according to the complaint.

Mraz has an arraignment hearing on Friday, Dec. 15.



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