From email@example.com Wed Jul 16 10:59:47 2003
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 06:14:52 -0400
From: Rockit [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: [se2600] Interz0ne Press Release re: Blackboard Settlement
Interz0ne Press Release:
Censorship via lawsuit wins again.
Lawyers working for Blackboard Inc., the maker of a card transaction, vending and ID system used by approximately 275 colleges and universities globally, as well as an undiscosed number of government and military installations, succeeded in silencing two college students who have found numerous flaws in Blackboard's flagship product over the last two years.
Georgia Tech student Billy Hoffman, along with University of Alabama student Virgil Griffith, initially kept the discoveries quiet while attempting to report them to Blackboard engineers, along with possible fixes. Traditionally, the discoverers of such flaws allow the vendors time to fix problems before going public; this provides the vendors with essentially free quality control labor while the discoverers get later bragging rights and items to pad their resumes. This unofficial system has worked well in the past, to the extent that Blackboard even boasts of working with the hacker community on their website.
Instead of taking an interest in news of these flaws, however, Blackboard engineers first dismissed Hoffman as a know-nothing "kid", then attempted to have him expelled from Georgia Tech after he voiced his concerns about Tech's Blackboard system to campus administrators and student organizations. Hoffman responded by first publishing his (and later Griffith's) findings, and then updating his articles via talks at various vendor and security conferences.
It was at such a conference, Interz0ne II in Atlanta, that Hoffman and Griffith were planning to discuss the most severe problems they had uncovered to date, including a demonstration of several easy-to-assemble hardware devices that could supposedly allow anyone with malicious intent free reign on a Blackboard system.
Hoffman and Griffith never gave their talk.
Instead, they and the convention organizers were served with both restraining orders and cease and desist orders. Court dates soon followed, along with legal threats. Several months after the convention, both Hoffman and Griffith settled out of court. They refuse to discuss the issue, so one can assume that the settlement includes an NDA.
Blackboard spokesdrone Michael Stanton stated to AP reporters on Monday, July 14th (a day before the settlement was officially filed) that "...the claims [Hoffman and Griffith] were making were silly," that "...they really didn't do a lot of the things they were claiming to [have done]" and that the settlement reaffirms that Blackboard's systems are secure.
The settlement does nothing of the sort.
If Hoffman and Griffith's clai... [ Read More (0.4k in body) ]
Interz0ne Press Release - re: Blackboard Settlement