Andrew Kinney reports on a hack at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.
Registration at Stevens is like high school sports. It involves waking up at seven in the morning to repeat mindless drills (furiously clicking through Web Self Services). It works with a class hierarchy — juniors trump sophomores who trump freshmen, with seniors reigning supreme. Students put in hours of extra effort in order to make varsity and gain all the perks that go with it (early registration). Worst of all, students’ position on the team could be stripped away at any time by injuries or promising upstarts, dampening their future hopes.
Jonathan Pavlik, a senior, had that final scenario happen to him this past registration period. Eight hours after enrolling in all of the classes he needed to graduate. Pavlik stated that in his conversation with Information Technology, he was told that someone else hacked into his Web Self Services account and dropped all of his classes.
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And why do I mention this here? Because it was too damned easy to hack the student’s registration, and the student had reportedly alerted the school’s IT people to the concerns years ago, only to be brushed off:
According to Pavlik, Stevens’ Department of Information Technology has known about this issue for years. He says that two years ago, he realized how the current system could be used maliciously so he notified Information Technology in hopes that they would fortify the system. According to him, their response was that exploiting the vulnerability would be illegal, therefore no one would attempt it, and it did not need to be addressed. The same vulnerability that he described to them ended up being used against him two years later.