After Georgia Tech’s latest win over the University of Georgia’s football team, it’s time to recall what some have called the “greatest prank ever,” between the two rivals.
In 2014, a Tech student hacked into the UGA’s computer system and added a few words to its official calendar, “Get ass kicked by GT.”
It was the 21st century equivalent of sneaking onto a campus and flying your team’s colors on the campus flagpole. But this hack was a crime and taken seriously.
Ryan Pickren, the student responsible for the prescient post (Georgia Tech did win) was arrested for hacking into the University System’s computers and police charged him with felony computer trespass.
He was offered a legal diversion that would keep him out of jail and drop charges in return for community service, an apology and keeping his nose clean. Pickren served Atlanta nonprofits, helping them protect their websites against hacks.
“Today all of the charges regarding my incident with the University of Georgia have officially been dismissed,” Ryan Gregory Pickren posted on his Facebook January of 2016. “I would like to take a moment to tell my story about how I ended up in a jail cell Christmas 2014.”
Later, he also began hacking (hacking for good causes) by exploring United Airlines computers, at the company’s invitation, to find weaknesses. The company offered him millions of miles in return for his finds. Pickren found plenty of flaws and earned 5 million frequent flyer miles, which he donated to Georgia Tech for use by any student organization that does charity work such as Engineers without Borders.
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