Feeds

DMCA threats gag security researchers

Cease and desist

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Threats of DMCA-inspired lawsuits have been used to gag a pair of security researchers due to give a talk on the shortcomings of smartcard technology at the Interz0ne.com conference last weekend.

Blackboard Inc. found out security researchers Billy Hoffman (AKA Acidus) and Virgil Griffith (Virgil) were about to present a paper on security flaws involving its popular university ID card system, and called in its lawyers.

Blackboard is an enterprise software vendor specialising in education, with revenues during 2002 of $69.2 million.

Prior to the talk (due to take place on Saturday night), lawyers Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP sent conference organisers a "cease and desist order".

Because of the order, the talk on the shortcoming of the Blackboard Transaction System was called off.

The Blackboard Transaction System is used by many US universities; it enables institutions to manage student accounts, lets students spend their money on the Web or on campus using their student ID card. The system can be Web-enabled or integrated with campus equipment such as cash registers and vending machines.

Hoffman's Web site (www.yak.net/acidus), according to Blackboard's lawyers, detailed plans to "release code to make a computer emulate any Blackboard reader, as well as the hardware designs ... to make a drop in replacement for any Blackboard reader" during the talk. The site now points to the Interz0ne.com site.

Meanwhile Blackboard's lawyers have filled for an injunction and are threatening further legal action against Hoffman and Griffith for alleged violations of a raft of Federal laws.

These include: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Economic Espionage Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Wiretap Act, and the Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Georgia's Computer Systems Protection Act.

The Blackboard Transaction System was developed following the November 2000 acquisition by Blackboard of AT&T CampusWide. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.