Oxford Uni hacks-to-hackers land in hot water

Punishment looms

Two Oxford University student hacks who turned hackers to expose IT security shortcomings at the University face possible suspension for their efforts.

First-year students Patrick Foster and Roger Waite could be fined £500 or suspended by University authorities after they broke into University systems and published an account of their findings in the Oxford Student paper. Foster, a former deputy editor of the paper, told the BBC that they were able to easily access sensitive systems containing details of the email passwords of their fellow students and more.

"We had a look using a program that is easily available over Google. We were able to infiltrate the IT network to the extent that, in one college, we could view live CCTV scenes. Roger [Waite] had up on his screen the live CCTV footage and at any point he could have shut it down," Foster said.

In an expose, Oxford Student quotes unnamed techies who said a drive to cut costs was compromising security at the University.

Whistle blowers face 'rustication'

Thames Valley Police were called in but they passed the matter back to the university, arguing the incident was best dealt with internally. Oxford dons - furious with the student hacks' actions - had already instigated disciplinary proceedings.

The pair feel they have been treated harshly but are co-operating with college authorities, confessing their actions to university proctors. Foster and Waite, both 20, face a hearing before the university's Court of Summary Jurisdiction in September. The Court has the power to fine the pair or ban them from the university buildings and facilities for a year (a process known as rustication). ®

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