F for felony: Student charged with hacking to change grade

By Ben Hooper  |  May 25, 2017 at 12:31 PM
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May 25 (UPI) -- A University of Central Florida student is facing a felony charge for allegedly hacking into the school system to change an F grade to a B.

University police said an engineering professor became suspicious May 4 when he received an email from the school's electronic grade book thanking him for approving his grade roster several hours after he approved the roster and received a confirmation email.

The professor reviewed the grades and noticed Sami Adel Ammar, 22, was listed as having a "B" in the class, whereas the grade had been an F earlier in the day.

Police said the professor tried to correct the grade, but received an error message. The professor said Ammar's name stood out because he had only turned in a single assignment all semester, presumably to prove he was enrolled in the class for financial aid reasons.

UCF police said they were summoned to a school building the following day when two unidentified men were spotted in two staff rooms. The men were gone by the time officers arrived.

Police said the IP address of the computer used to alter Ammar's grade was traced to one of the rooms where the men were seen. They reviewed security camera footage and saw Ammar and another student, Samuel Williams, enter the room.

Ammar, who police said was uncooperative during questioning, turned himself in Wednesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He has been trespassed from campus and is facing a felony charge of accessing a computer without authority.

Police said they are reviewing the involvement of Williams, who they said was unavailable for questioning due to flying home to California.

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