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Amazingly, according to The Inquirer, an Orange County hacker is facing an incredible 38 years in prison if found guilty of several counts relating to hacking into his school computer.

It seems that Omar Khan, 18, of Coto de Caza, California hacked into computer in order to change his grades. Indeed, it is reported that he attempted to change all his C, D and F grades to As and Bs. The discrepancy soon came to light when school administrators were asked for a new school transcript by Khan as he appealed a denial of admission to the University of California.

The Orange County Superior Court is hearing a total of 69 felony counts against Khan, including second degree burglary, ID theft, altering an falsifying a public record and, of course, computer access and fraud. It is also suggested that he installed spyware on a teachers PC and altered grades for a total of 12 other students.

He is charged alongside fellow student Tanvir Singh, 18, of Laera Ranch, California who is accused of breaking into a classroom to steal the answers to an exam test paper.

Although it could be argued that both were, essentially, doing the same thing by cheating, Singh only faces a maximum of three years in prison if found guilty. This had led many online commentators to suggest that the law is, to be blunt, an ###.

Certainly when a rapist can be found guilty and serve a fraction of the 38 years faced by Khan, it does prompt questioning into the fairness of such a stiff penalty for the computer crime which, it could be argued, caused nobody any real harm. Of course, that 38 year figure is the maximum and even if found guilty there is nothing to say he would receive the full term. A court spokesman has implied that the severity of the potential sentence is a reflection of the severity of the offences which include identity theft and computer fraud.

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

Excellent. Should serve as a deterrent to other cheating kids as well as get a budding hardcore criminal off the street for a long time.
By the time he gets out he'll be harmless in society as his skills at anything except serving as a gay hooker should be pretty much outdated.

Just parade him through classrooms in prison slacks and chains every day, all day, as part of a lecture series on why crime doesn't pay and why cheating is a bad idea.

Computer is the way of the future so it is in our best interest to protects it from misuse. By using harsh laws and better programming techniques things like this won't happen in the future.

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