Student who hacked exams department website arrested

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A student who accessed the results of the GCE 2021 Advanced Level Exam by hacking into the exam department website was arrested by the Cybercrime Investigation Division of the Criminal Investigation Department yesterday.

This student who stole the results list of 270,000 advanced level students had set up a separate web portal similar to that of the examinations department for candidates to check their results.

The suspect is currently studying information and communication technology at a top school in Galle, police said.

CID sources said the student was arrested following a thorough investigation by the Department’s Cybercrime Division based on a complaint filed by the Head of the Examinations Department, LMDDharmasena. Examination results, including A-level results, can be checked through the Examinations Service website only by entering the candidate’s index number or national identity card number. Apart from that, the results of the exams were never given by name verification and confidentiality was protected to the maximum.

“But this student had made it possible to verify student results by entering the names of applicants through its web portal,” he said. This new web portal has enabled those who have accessed it to check the results even when the full name of the candidate who appeared for the exam is not completely known.

When the known part of the name is entered, the names of all candidates who appeared for the exam are displayed and facilities are provided to check the list of results by selecting the particular name. The parents of this student are teachers. The CID states that he also has two older sisters. One of the sisters studies in a university and the other sister studies in an advanced level class.

Investigators said the student shared his knowledge of how to hack websites and steal data through the Telegram group which has more than 5,000 members including students studying technology.

Officers from the Cybercrime Division strategically entered this Telegram group and observed how information is shared within the group. They first managed to identify an administrator. This administrator in question is also a student in a high school and he is a resident of Dehiwala.

Investigators, after closely studying the information shared in this Telegram group, arrested the suspected student in Galle on Wednesday. Investigators say the student in question was identified after the head of the Cybercrime Division hacked into their new web portal. This student had placed a message in the Telegram group stating that his web portal had been hacked and that steps were being taken to restore it.

During the interrogation, the suspect had stated that on one occasion before, the website of the examinations department had been hacked and that a result document had also been published via a separate web access earlier.

Investigations have shown that this activity was not practiced by this student with any criminal intent and that he did it for fun using the knowledge he had acquired. Investigators said special attention was paid to the Telegram group, which has a group of around 5,000 students, including this student.

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