The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, Debtember 19, 2002

Hacking your way to worse grades

(CNN)—It was a breeze for 15-year-old Reid Ellison to hack into his high school's computer grading system. But what to do once he broke in took a bit more ingenuity.

You see, Reid already has a perfect 4.0 grade point average at Anzar High School in San Juan Bautista, California. So to leave his mark, he decided to lower his grades to a 1.9 GPA—a meager D+.

Via email from Ken, Student gets ‘A’ for hacking school computer

He got away with it because he had permission from the school to hack their computer system.

While I never hacked the computer systems that housed the grades in FAU I did hack a few systems. More specifically, I tested exploits on the CSE computers, then promptly reported the holes to the sysadmins there. And there were a few other things I did (notably in the Computer Graphics Class) that now a days would get me thrown out of school pronto (okay, so I disrupted class one day—the instructor was quite boring).

I was, however, there when the CSE found their systems hacked. Seemed someone broke into the system and replaced the login program with one that would allow anyone to log in with root privileges (highest access). It was poorly done from a purely asthetic standpoint—any non-valid user id (and anything for a password) would get you logged in as root; the first student that mistyped their userid would get root access and possibly blow the whole back door.

Sheesh.

A better written program would only allow a certain userid with a special password access, without the login being logged.

Um … not that I ever did that, mind you.

I mean, if you are going to install a back door, you might as well do it right

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