Pickren acquitted of computer trespassing

Photo courtesy of Ryan Pickren

The Tech student responsible for a hacking incident on the University of Georgia’s (UGA) master calendar in Nov. 2014 has officially been acquitted after undergoing a year-long Pre-Trial Diversion program.

Ryan Pickren, a fourth-year EE and CMPE, was indicted with a felony count of computer trespass on Dec. 16, 2014 following a Hate Week prank in which he exploited a security flaw and published an unauthorized message reading “Get ass kicked by GT” on the UGA website’s master calendar. A week later, Pickren was taken into custody in Athens and released the same day on a $5,000 bond.

The Athens-Clarke County District Attorney permitted Pickren to enter a Pre-Trial Diversion program, which enabled him as a first-time offender to avoid pleading guilty or no contest in exchange for community service, a written apology to UGA and good behavior for one year after entering the program.

During his program, Pickren completed his community service with Techbridge, an Atlantan non-profit who provides tech support to other non-profit organizations.

“Techbridge is an awesome company,” Pickren said. “I really enjoyed my time with them. There is a real need for the services that they provide to the community.”

Having successfully completed the program, Pickren has had all charges against him dropped and his record has been expunged.

He intends to continue pursuing his passion for computer science: “I definitely have a passion for cybersecurity. Today my ‘ethical hacking’ activities are focused on Bug Bounty programs. These are legal programs set up by companies who are willing to pay bounties to researchers who can identify security vulnerabilities in their online systems.”