Montreal student expelled for finding security flaw

In the end, things may still work out pretty well for Ahmed Al-Khabaz, 20-year-old expelled computer science student in Montreal’s Dawson College.

Al-Khabaz, found himself out on a limb shortly after he and fellow student Ovidiu Mija, drew attention to the “sloppy coding” on his college’s Omnivox Portal software last September.
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Omnivox serves as the hub for the school’s internal communications. The vulnerability, according to the Naked Security newsletter of security software maker Sophos Inc., compromised the security of the personal data of the school’s more than 250,000 students.

Dawson initially congratulated Mija and Al-kahbaz for finding the flaw and promised them that Skytech Communications, makers of the software, would fix the problem.

Al-Khabaz said that two days later  used a Web vulnerability tester to find out if the flaw had been fixed. Minutes aftyer his penetration testing, Al-Khabaz said Skytech president Eduoard Taza called him and accused him of launching a cyber-attack. The college’s professors decided to expel Al-khabaz for what they called a “serious professional conduct issue.”

Since then Taza has said that he will offer Al-Khabaz a scholarship so he could finish his studies in the private sector and has also offered the former student a part-time job in the information technology security field.
Dawson says its stands behind it decision to expel Al-Khabaz.



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