You chose to help Quentin get into the computer system, and then play a "joke" on your friends by changing their grades. Here's what might happen:

Stick figure
Something goes wrong when you and Quentin try to break into the school's computer system, and you are both caught. Your friends get very angry with you and Quentin for looking at their grades. Your school had to pay a lot of money to figure out who had broken into the computer, and to fix it so that it will not happen again. There is now no money left to purchase new sports equipment.

Even though you meant it as a joke, you and Quentin have committed a very serious crime by breaking into the school's computer. It is NOT a game. You and Quentin could be in serious trouble.

Think about it:

People who break into computers ("hackers") destroy property and records, and invade privacy. What is privacy worth to you? What information about you (or your parents) do you think is private: medical information? grades? how much money you have? how much money you owe? your letters to a friend? To a boyfriend or girlfriend? If you were in charge of the computer and found out that a hacker had broken into your system, would you worry that data had been changed?

When you write something, how important is it to be able to find it again: an e-mail letter? a school paper? your bank records? How important is it that data in computers not be altered: your school paper? a letter? your grades? medical records?

Some hackers think that if they "don't alter anything" or "don't mean to alter anything" they haven't done any harm. But they are stealing telephone and computer time. They also "crash" (break) systems so they won't work. What could happen if systems like the air traffic control system or the 911 system suddenly stopped working?


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