MILLIONS IN PROCEEDS:
A tip led police to hackers who sold students’ grades and test scores to cram schools, stolen from elementary and secondary school systems
Three suspects have been detained and were being held in isolation for their alleged involvement in a case that involves the alleged hacking and sale of student records and other personal information from elementary, junior and senior-high schools in Taiwan, the Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office said on Wednesday.
As many as 7.5 million files were stolen and illegally sold to cram schools by a criminal ring, which earned millions of New Taiwan dollars from the proceeds, prosecutors said.
Acting on a tip, Tainan prosecutors arrested a man surnamed Chen (陳) in July for selling information about elementary and secondary school students using dummy cellphone accounts.
Chen was arrested and held in isolation after being questioned by prosecutors, which led to the detention in September of three alleged accomplices — a 47-year-old math teacher surnamed Tsai (蔡) who taught at a cram school, a 36-year-old computer hacker surnamed Chai (柴) and another hacker, a 27-year-old surnamed Chang (張).
Following an investigation, Chai and Chang were taken into custody while Tsai was released on NT$100,000 bail.
Findings by prosecutors indicate that Tsai began colluding with computer-savvy Chai and Chang in 2015 to steal students’ personal information by hacking school computer systems or those of local education authorities around Taiwan.
Both Chai and Chang have a record of illegally hacking Web sites, with Chang having been indicted indicted for doing so as a university student, prosecutors said.
Information stolen by the three was passed to Chen by Tsai for sale to cram schools, with Chai and Chang taking up to 90 percent of the illegal gains, they said.
Each file, containing a student’s name, ID number, school name, grades, parents’ names, home address, phone number and test scores, was sold for NT$10 to NT$20, prosecutors said.
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