Linn State student pleads guilty to tampering charge

A Linn State Tech College student, charged with tampering with computers at the college, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

According to Osage County Prosecutor’s Office, Andrew Paglusch, 19, Robertsville, was charged with one count of tampering with computer data.

He was placed on two years probation and must also complete community service.

Missouri Highway Patrol probable cause statements show a malicious computer program was found Jan. 11 on several computers available for students and faculty of the college.

School officials found that when anyone would insert a USB thumb drive into an infected computer, the program would copy all of the information from the thumb drive onto the hard drive of that computer.

The program would copy data without the knowledge or consent of the user in violation of state law.

School officials said they did not authorize anyone to install the program on any of their computers or networks. It was installed on Oct. 8, 2012.

During further investigation, evidence was found that a copy of the program had also been downloaded from Dropbox, an Internet-based data and file storage site, which allowed users to store any files they choose. This Dropbox account contained the name ‘Andrew.’

College security officers were able to see folders and files on the hard drives of the infected computer which were copied over by the program.

Eventually a search warrant was issued for the home in Linn where Paglusch lived.

Copies of the malicious computer program, along with the source code to make the program, were located on digital media belonging to Paglusch.

Authorities then interviewed Paglusch, who said the program was originally written to back up his own USB drives, but that he also installed the program on a computer belonging to Linn State, without permission, in order to copy other students’ homework.

Paglusch said he did it in the fall 2012 semester.

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