College Student Expelled for Solving Security Flaw

MONTREAL — In a 14-1 vote, the Dawson College Academic computing board expelled one of its students, who had discovered a serious security flaw in the school’s computer system.

Ahmed Al-Khabaz discovered that the Skytech software managing students’ accounts had “sloppy coding,” which would allow someone to gain access to personal information of any student in the system, including social insurance numbers, home address and phone numbers, The Huffington Post reports. Al-Khabaz, who claims it could have affected more than 250,000 students throughout Quebec, immediately contacted school administrators, who thanked him for the discovery and said that Skytech would fix the problem.

Al-Khabaz tested the system two days later, and later received a phone call from Skytech President Eduord Taza, who allegedly accused Al-Khabaz of a cyber-attack, although the student apologized and explained that he wasn’t doing anything malicious. He was supposedly forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which prevented Al-Khabaz from discussing the issue and disclosing that an agreement ever existed, ZDNet reports.

In addition to Al-Khabaz’s expulsion, the school board zeroed all his grades, which prevents him from applying to another university. All appeal attempts have been denied. Meanwhile, the Dawson Student Union created an online petition that currently has 7,656 signatures, in efforts to get Al-Khabaz reinstated.

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