Tulsa Police working with TU students to track down cyber crime

Thursday, August 8th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Computer hackers have hit a Green Country school's computer system and Tulsa Police are trying to find out what damage the hackers did and who they are.

As News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright tells us, Tulsa's Cyber Crimes unit has a new weapon that should put hackers on alert. Cyber crimes are exploding; Tulsa Police get more than 30 cases every month, of people hacking into systems, email threats and online auction fraud. The hackers keep getting better, so, Tulsa detectives have the best technology at the fingertips and a secret weapon, computer geniuses.

These guys are students at the University of Tulsa and they're using their computer skills to help police. Michael Fisher will be a sophomore and loves the challenge of hacking the hackers. "Depends on how good they are. 99% of them just download a program and use it and it's a slam-dunk. But, if they're real good, and they know what they're doing and use their own programs, it can be really hairy."

On this day, the TU students are helping find out what happened when someone recently hacked into a school computer system. Police don't want to name the school yet. After only a few hours, they've already found the evidence police need. TPD Cyber Crimes Sgt Tim Stadler, "In a hacking case of say a school, they can wreak havoc with the grades, personnel records, payroll and it costs the school a lot of money in the end.”

This partnership between the TU computer corps and police is working so well, the police department's Cyber Crimes unit is actually moving its office to the TU campus next week. The students will find proof of computer crimes, and then, detectives prepare the cases for court. To these guys, cyber crimes, especially hacking, are no laughing matter. "It is more than just a prank. They are accessing private information and they know they're not supposed to be it in. It's not just a prank, it's a criminal act."

So, the next time a hacker decides to stroll through someone else's computer. They need to remember; some of nation's best computer minds will be hot on their trail.

Students can apply for the TU computer corps when they're sophomores. They get free tuition, a paid apartment and a thousand dollar monthly stipend. In return, they must intern for the government for two years.

We'll tell you what happened in the school hacking case, once police collect the evidence.