An ex-wrestler and student of the University of Iowa is accused of conducting a cheating scheme to obtain test copies in advance and changing his and his classmates’ grades multiple times. The FBI has arrested the 22-year old Trevor Graves on federal computer-hacking charges for which he faces at least ten years in jail.
Graves got arrested on Tuesday from Denver and is currently out of prison after paying the bond and appearing before the court on Thursday in Iowa. His charges include unauthorized accessing of a computer for obtaining information and intentionally transmitting computer software to cause damage. Graves was a member of the Hawkeyes wrestling team in 2013 and left in 2015.
According to the FBI, the scheme was secretly conducted by the installation of keylogger devices in the computer systems installed in the university classes and labs. He referred to these keyloggers as Hand of God” and “Pineapple.”
Through keylogger software, Graves was able to monitor whatever his professor typed on the compromised computer including login credentials that allowed access to the grading and emailing systems of the university. Graves allegedly used the information for accessing professors’ accounts for intercepting test questions and exams beforehand and also changed grades on his homework assignments, quizzes, and tests.
Reportedly, Graves changed his grades not once or twice but over 90+ times over a span of 21 months starting from March 2015 to December 2016. On the other hand, he changed the grades of at least five other students on various occasions. A wide range of classes was targeted in this cheating scheme including chemistry, business, and engineering.
A student shared with the FBI that Graves also shared copies of over a dozen exams with students before they were due to be taken and students willingly took them to ensure that they got good grades.
This malicious scheme was discovered accidentally by one of his professors’ when she noticed that Graves’ grades were changed quite a few times while she didn’t authorize it. She immediately notified the university’s IT security department and eventually Graves was arrested by the FBI later in October.
University of Iowa Student Arrested for Running Cheating Scheme and Changing Grades 90 Times
According to New York Times, around $68,000 was spent by the university in the investigation while Graves and two other students were also searched in January, but the other two students weren’t charged. Graves lived in an off-campus Iowa City flat from where investigators confiscated his cellphones, keyloggers and USB drives that allegedly contained copies of some of the intercepted exams.
One of his cellphones contained screenshot that showed Graves using an email account of his professor and an attachment titled Exam was highlighted. They also discovered text messages in which Graves was discussing the intercepted exams and sharing the information with other students.
“Pineapple hunter is currently laying in wait in a classroom already,” one of the messages read. Murdoch Walker, the defense attorney, did not comment on this matter.