HR Strange But True!
July 19, 2002

With the unwitting help of human-resource employees, a University of Delaware student managed to break into the university's computer system three times in June to give herself passing grades, according to university police.

Police charge in a court affidavit that Darielle Insler, a 22-year-old junior, gained access to the computer system twice by impersonating her instructors in phone calls to the university's HR department. She's accused of requesting a new password for each instructor, then logging into the system using their new passwords.

She also allegedly gained access to the system once by guessing another teacher's password, court documents say.

The New Castle-Wilmington News Journal reports that Insler is charged with multiple counts of identity theft, criminal impersonation, unauthorized access of a computer system and misuse of information on a computer system. She is free on $5,500 bail awaiting trial in Delaware Superior Court.

The sort of tactics attributed to Insler are commonly employed by people breaking into computer systems, said Capt. David Citro, unit commander of the Delaware State Police's High Technology Crimes Unit.

"It's the easier way, because you don't really need the computer expertise or know-how," he told the News Journal. "Instead of handling the computer, you're handling the people."

Bruce Raker, the manager of university's Management Information Service, said his office has responded by installing an e-mail procedure that will notify an employee when his or her password is changed.

But Raker, who helped track down Insler by tracing the computers she allegedly used, said human resources should not have changed the password. "They're not supposed to do this over the phone," he said.

Source: New Castle-Wilmington News Journal

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