Blaming The Messenger: Student Almost Expelled For Spotting Security Flaw
from the better-to-keep-quiet? dept
We've heard so many stories where whoever discovers a security vulnerability (and calls attention to it) is later blamed for that vulnerability. At this point, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising, but we keep hoping that people begin to realize what a ridiculous policy it is, and how it simply pushes people to keep quiet about security weaknesses, leaving them vulnerable to those who would do harm. In the latest case, the good news is that a student who found his university revealing names, social security numbers and grade point averages has not been expelled, but apparently the school came very close to making that decision. The school accused him of breaking "a university computer use policy that prohibits unauthorized people from accessing confidential files that may have been inadvertently placed in a publicly accessible location." Yes, you read that correctly. The school has a policy saying if it screws up and you accidentally access a file it shouldn't have made publicly available, you are to blame.