Student Hacking into University’s Learning Management System to Save His Grades: A Cautionary Tale

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It was 18 February 2016 and Loo Wee Ling, Practice Associate Professor of Law at Singapore Management University, had just received a communication about a case of cheating in the School of Law where she taught. GK, a 32-year-old Russian national, was mid-way through his final year of the Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) programme at SMU, when he embarked on a course of action that resulted in his being convicted of two offences under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act and sentenced to two months' incarceration in a Singapore prison.

Worried about not qualifying for legal practice in Singapore, he had tried to save his grades by hacking into the learning management system of a law module using his law professor's userid and password which he had obtained by stealth using a USB keylogger plugged into the common computer in the classroom. His fear of doing badly in the final examinations of the Law of Property module led him to delete the online answer scripts of all his course-mates in the hope of being able to retake the examination.

This proved to be his undoing as discovery of the deleted scripts led to investigations that traced the hacking back to him. GK committed crimes which led to dire consequences for himself. Loo was interested to have her students analyse, from an ethical perspective, what exactly is wrong with GK's actions?

Students are expected to (i) have a better understanding of the ethical theories and their limitations; (ii) be able to apply them appropriately to fact scenarios that involve an ethical issue; (iv) use the theories to diagnose what is wrong (or right) about an action that had been taken or proposed; and (v) provide a reasoned conclusion based on a considered weighing of the importance to be given to particular concerns raised by the different theories.\302\240


Cheating, ethics, ethical issues, ethical theories, business ethics, integrity


Higher Education | Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

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Education Level

Executive Education; Postgraduate; Undergraduate

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