There really isn't enough information given in the article to say conclusively what I think of this issue. But generally speaking, security through obscurity isn't really security; a lot of organizations don't seem to grasp this. Dawson College sounds like it might be one of them.
A lot of people are saying that what he did is basically mess with someone's locks to see if he could get in. I don't think that analogy an apt one. For one, his own student info is also behind the lock, so it's not like he has no stake in whether or not it's secure.
"he was expelled after he repeatedly tried to gain access to areas of the college information system where he had no authorization." He had been told repeatedly to stop, but he was so hung up on enlarging his metaphorical penis that he didn't listen He broke the law, got warned, did it again, got removed. its all very logical. He had it coming.
I used to play Risk online, and there was this prick there who always used to post thousands of weird ascii characters in the chat window, which would cause the game to crash for anyone whose PC didn't have the memory to deal with it. When challenged by the mods he said he was doing it to expose a flaw in their programming. They fixed the flaw and banned him.
The school probably should have responded to the problem he found, but at the same time, he should have stopped meddling when he was instructed to do so. Not listening to the school in this case I would say is indeed improper conduct.
A bit too much "he said, he said" to nail down who was actually in the wrong, but I will say that there are a lot of places out there (the Federal Government being top of the list) who will move heaven and earth to hide a problem rather than lift a finger to fix it.
So someone linked the story to you and you are re sharing it. I don't know how else we have a story on the 'National Post' which I've honestly never read before. Right in the headline there states he was warned twice to stop trying to hack their data security system. Schools are not authorized to employ students as their data security people, and even the employees of the company providing software security services will not try to bombard the school's networks to 'test' anything. This article has no details about what really happened, it tries to make it sound like this poor innocent 20 year old just tripped over a "flaw" in a data security system "while working on a school project". According to whom he was working on a project? Even if he was, he is using that as the cover for his attempts to hack their security. I work in a data based job, and I will tell you there is no way in history that anyone just stumbles over flaws in computer security. If a 'flaw' was found, it means you were looking for one. Already by doing this he is in violation of the school's conduct, and depending on where he snooped- the law. he's lucky he isn't being tried for data theft or hacking. The school probably warned him twice because they were following strict protocol- because the knee-jerk reaction would otherwise have been to throw him out and confiscate computers after the first offense. School did everything by the book- and this student is not somebody I would hire at my company. I bet if the details of what he was doing actually come out, he won't look like such an innocent little angel anymore.
The student had good intentions and went about it the wrong way. If the school refused his help/advice that should have been the end of it.
If I tried to 'show' the Secret Service a 'vulnerability' they had in the White House protection scheme I'd be dead or in jail until I was dead. The intention might have been genuine but that doesn't make it right.
The student chose his actions and he must be held responsible and accountable for his decisions.
As everyone said, it's not the fact he got around a faulty system that got him expelled, but the fact he hacked the system at all and could obtain personal info that got him expelled. Why would a college keep students who will go and steal information of other students? It's not about being able to take constructive criticism at all - though they will likely try to better the security of their system so they don't get hacked again.
A) He attempted to break the security before letting anyone know. B) He did it twice (total) before he was warned. C) The third time is when he got expelled as he was caught in areas he was told not to go to while he was instructed to test the security flaw. D) The college cited that he was not acting in a professional manner.
If we look at ACM's (Association for Computing Machinery) code of ethics: [link] He broke code 2.8 by accessing part of the network he was not authorized to do so, not to mention honor with the school.
Another link: "Speaking to The Security Ledger by phone from Montreal on Monday, Al-Khabaz said that the software vulnerability scan that got him expelled from school was conducted on a test server only, and using credentials provided to him by the company that makes Omnivox: Skytech Communications. The scan, he said, was merely intended to determine if the vulnerability he had reported had been fixed, and wasn’t intended to bring down the test system." - [link]
He reported it and was thanked. A few days later he was caught running scanning software on their systems. From a sysadmin perspective I wouldn't buy the "just seeing it's fixed" excuse. Patches can sometimes take longer than a couple of days to write and test before going live.
I agree but not by their logic. Their logic was we need to put out responsible citizens who are good at what they do and good in a business environment. That makes no sense considering the fact that bringing a glaring fault in a system to the attention of the administration is responsible, skillful, and is good business. Then again, they've made a huge deal about this which has brought further attention to their faults so I highly doubt the school actually knows what is good for business.
Self-EpidemicFeatured By OwnerFeb 7, 2013Professional Digital Artist
Identity fraud? Dude, just because its a student, stop assuming the potential. He may not even understand what he is doing, but if he sold that information to someone who could, he would be fucking around with peoples lives SO badly.
Nah, it's more like this: what if you'd broken into their house and rifled through all their things, but upon getting caught, you didn't seem to have stolen anything. Was it ok that you broke in, just because you hadn't stolen anything?
That's more accurate, but still a flawed analogy. If someone breaks into my house and steals something of mine, then it's gone. If someone breaks into my computer and steals data, the data is still there (unless the individual erases it).