News

CertCities: "Braindump" Site Owner Sentenced

Robert Keppel to get prison time, ordered to pay half a million in restitution to Microsoft Corp.

Robert Keppel, the first "braindump" site owner to be criminally convicted for selling IT certification exam questions, was sentenced on Friday in federal court to 12 months and 1 day in prison and ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution to Microsoft Corp.

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About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com, RedDevNews.com and VisualStudioMagazine.com, among others.

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Apr 22, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

I wonder how much the equivalent cost for certification is in places like India where the rates of pay are obviously far less? Do market forces prevail?

Sat, Apr 5, 2003 Rose Denmark

Well, too bad for him. Is it really illegal? Otherwise those dumps were a great help when preparing for exams. Pray that they let him out and just tell him not to do it again.

Thu, Apr 3, 2003 Europe Free US Anonymous

US Free Europe is a hypocrite. Claims to be free of US yet he uses Microsoft products. What an idiot...he must be French.

Thu, Mar 20, 2003 piLL Anonymous

i agree with steve from uk, but dont you think ms should make this exams cheaper?? truly microsoft can afford it....then the issue of the site owner would not arise.

Thu, Mar 20, 2003 piLL Anonymous

i agree with steve from uk, but dont you think ms should make this exams cheaper?? truly microsoft can afford it....then the issue of the site owner would not arise.

Thu, Mar 20, 2003 piLL Anonymous

i agree with steve from uk, but dont you think ms should make this exams cheaper?? truly microsoft can afford it....then the issue of the site owner would not arise.

Tue, Mar 11, 2003 Guayanes Venezuela

Shame on you, Bill Gates! How much you paid for that?. Don't monopolize the knowledge!!!, It is not the iraq's petroleum,.... Shame on you "Greengo"!!!!

Fri, Feb 28, 2003 Steve UK

One of the basic problems I find is that the exams are rubbish. The multi-choice / multi-answer type of question is limited, the questions are badly phrased, too long-winded or sometimes irrelevant to what's really required. In the UK at least, most test centres have the old, small CRT monitors with noisy desktops in a cramped room shared between 5 or 6 people. I'm an experienced MS developer (from VB1.0 to n-tier to .NET) and I've taken some of these exams and I don't find they're a test of my knowledge or ability. You could know a topic inside-out and still have to learn the exam. It's crazy. So instead of spending hours and money on exam materials to pass an exam on a topic they know inside-out and have developed with commercially for years some people just buy the questions.
I've bought mock tests from transcender in the past - how different is that ?? I found the questions to be basically the same as the ones in the exams, but just reworded.
Because the exams are not 'real-world' it also allows people with little or know experience to just exam-cram and pass. This can't be right.
Microsoft and Prometric have got to sort this out.

Mon, Feb 24, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

What about the schools that provide "test prep" material, or send instructors inside to provide the answers, or question students after exam to compare notes. What about a school that uses carefully prepared courseware that has been deliberately cut and pasted from Microsoft books, but label them as their own. What happens to school like those that cheat the students from a real education. These schools profit from the large amount that they charge the students and continue to get referrals based on the high percentage of certifications. Almost anyone can become certified if they have a little understanding and have the questions and answers for the test. I know of several people who have gone to a school like this and are unable to become employed. How should this school be punished?

Thu, Feb 20, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Often I see Microsoft exam questions where all of the answers could be right if subtle changes were made to the way the question is asked. So why don't they prepare 4 versions of the same question? This would give them a much bigger pool to select the questions from and would make braindump sites a lot less effective for people who are only interested in learing the answers.

Wed, Feb 19, 2003 Peter USA

Everyone is missing the point. MS sentenced a man to jail because they percieved he was cutting into their bottom line. Certification companies, classes, books, and trainers who pay MS $$$ get to create "practice" exams and questions.

A corporation or person who does not give MS their "cut", is fined and goes to jail. Just like any politician, if you do not pay, then you PAY.

MS never used to contribute to political campaigns. They got tagged with the anti-trust stuff by the government. They started lining political pockets, and the Department of Justice has backed off.

US Govt:
no pol money ="It's a monoply"
some pol money ="we can settle"
more money ="MS is ok"
tons of money ="MS is American industry at its finest"

Tue, Feb 18, 2003 Cheers To Brain Dumps!

Yup... I totally agree with you, Jerry-usa from Good Ol' US! In this world, all blinded by paper qualifications, its not anyone's fault to try and get one of these "Paper MCSE" to get themselves to the interview room and secure jobs...

But its definately their FAULT if they don't buck up, read up, experience and learn more while they're on the job!

Cheers to BrainDumps! Hope they're here to stay!

Tue, Feb 18, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

bush has nothing to do with microsoft you silly so-and-sos... and any of you who think iraq is innocent ought to be ashamed of your poor perception skills...

h1b visas are more of a problem than any of you know...

Pray for peace; but don't expect the rest of the world to just let us be... remember 9/11 and get ready for the next one...

Tue, Feb 18, 2003 Jerry-usa Good Ol' US of A

Enough about the "Paper MCSE's" I had no experience except what I did at home tinkering with my PC's. I went to a class that offered 'BIG BUCKS" so I got my MCSE NT 4. Yes I looked on braindump sites to help with learning. I also stayed late in class labs working till 1-2 in the AM. I also had a book in my hand reading every minute I could find! Now 3 years later I have a good job. No I dont know as much as you "Old Dogs" that have worked for 10 + years. But I'm learning Being a "Paper MCSE" was the only way I could get my foot in the door! BrainDumps does serve a purpose if you dont abuse it. Now I have to run I need to read up for my W2003 MCSE!

Tue, Feb 18, 2003 Andy Englishman Germany

This ("Braindump" site owner sentenced) thread makes for some quite interesting reading. Its amazing to read how bigoted some people can be!! Despite all the mud slinging going on the fact is..experience in the system that needs working on will get you the job and help you keep it. The quals might get you through the interview door but if you cant "talk the talk" based on experience then go join the Army. Please note that I have attempted not to offend anyone (except the Army lads of which I was one for 22 years).

Fri, Feb 14, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I have heard about enough from you cheese-eating, anti-semitic, surrender monkeys. Why don't you create a united coountry with your NAZI neighbors. That way, next time, you can just occupy yourselves and we won't need to bother rescuing you from the results of your own cowardice.

Fri, Feb 14, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

To John from Kuwait, I am not rich, and I did not need all the MS training, etc. I read, lots of reading, and lots of hands on time on the systems. This is how you gain the knowledge to be able to pass the exams. Having worked very hard for 4 years to gain the certs that I have, I get angry when I see the value of the certs nose dive due to people who cheat, and yes, it is cheating.

Mon, Feb 10, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Bush Whacked, I could not not agree with you more. I have worked with a lot of them and it is so annoying but after a time management finds them out and they are fired.

Mon, Feb 10, 2003 Bush Whacked Liberal Camp US

Go Bush? After Iraq, who will free the US from Bush and Rumsfield?

And to John (from Kuwait) --If you can't scrape up $200 US for MCSE self study kits and 120 day eval copies of MS software, then you deserve to rot in poverty and ignorance if you think Brain Dumps are going to get you a job or make you a competent MCSE.

Try getting a job in the US today with an MCSE that was purchased through an Indian testing center or from Brain Dumps. It ain't gonna happen. They'll send you home crying in a job interview and you'll be on the phone calling the US rascists because in this tech recession the tech interviews are getting tougher and tougher and they are weeding out the H1B liars, H1B brain dumpers and H1B phony hacks. That dog ain't gonna hunt no more.

Mon, Feb 10, 2003 john kuwait

only the rich can afford to appear for thee training and get access to the MS stuff....he was just trying to help the middle class but u cant punish everyone....bcos so far as there is such tech gap the hackers will continue to crack and hack....since we cant afford MS and their prices. GOD helpBecky. we are with him and he will win.

Mon, Feb 10, 2003 Go Bush!! USA!

it's Rumsfield, not Blumfeld, you freaking idiot, and just remember that our country set your continent free from Nazi slavery at the cost of many thousands of American lives, and Pres. Bush is doing his best to ensure that you European crybabies get to enjoy your same freedoms along with the rest of the civilized world, so you owe him some gratitude!

Sun, Feb 9, 2003 Anonymous USA

There are much worse people than him who really deserve jail. It is partially Microsoft's fault for the majority of
certified MCSEs who can't pass the
practical interview exams-this makes the true MCSEs less valuable. Everywhere you look and see something like get your MCSE and make big bucks; this is so unrealistic! We get lame clowns that state they are MCSEs and want big bucks. Most of the Microsoft books are not the greatest. Some of Microsoft's own people don't use their study guides to study and pass the exams. I'll stick with some of Mark Minasi's books and others that don't come from Microsoft!

Fri, Feb 7, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Politics has nothing to do with fraud. opimuc should find a different forum if he wants to rant about his political beliefs.

Thu, Feb 6, 2003 Ms. Hulot Paris France

Apres notre revolution nous pense toujours a
ca : Liberte, Fraternite , Egalitee.
Les americains dois pense sur ca aussi pour le bonitee au votre peuple !!!!
Vive la France , vive le president francaise !!

Thu, Feb 6, 2003 opimuc US-free Europe

I am still wondering how long the US citizenship will accept this behavior of those monopolistic companies and all that "Bushism". But thanks to Mr. Blumfeld this problem will be solved sooner or later in the next world war initiated by that regime.

Thu, Feb 6, 2003 Chris Hyter

That is wrong how a large corporation can send one man to jail, but when a big name exec. or NBA star commit fraud or murder they get no jail time, I think it is wrong.

Tue, Feb 4, 2003 Manika India

Please send me information about MCSE on windows server 2003

Tue, Feb 4, 2003 Richard Slauenwhite CT

He'll have plenty of time to keep up on his .NET certifications in jail. How sad :).

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