Today in NC State History: Crime wave moves with a techno beat

June 10, 2015
By Chris Saunders

historyIconWith the percussion of keys furiously being tapped on a keyboard and the low hum of printers spitting out research papers due right before class, computer labs are a hotbed of late-night and  last-minute activity for students trying to perfect his or her magnum opus of the semester.

But in the early 1980s, according to the Technician, those labs were allegedly home to pursuits that went beyond academics.

It was on this day in 1981 when the paper reported a recent string of computer crimes where students were accessing computers under false pretenses.

An NC State computer lab in 1981. Photo courtesy of the Technician.

An NC State computer lab in 1981. Photo courtesy of the Technician.

“In layman’s terms,” the Technician reported, “this means they were using other students’ computer-account numbers to gain access to unauthorized information and charging the computer time used to those students.”

While some viewed it as a matter of student conduct, Computer Center Director Richard Usanis told the Technician that punishment doled out by the student judicial board was impotent.

“We are dealing with a very serious crime,” he said. “Taking them to court is one way to make sure they understand it’s not just a simple reprimand.”




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