Student tampered with computer system


Due to the amount of feedback I have received from the article ("UA graduate suspected of computer fraud," April 19) about my letter to the Dean of Students, I feel I need to clarify a few points involving the case.

Mr. Jeh never requested permission to run the "sniffer" on our machine. Neither did he bother to inform the administrators of the machine or the X-terminal lab (Eric Huber) of his intentions in running the sniffer. Had Mr. Jeh behaved in a legitimate manner and kept us informed of his intentions and actions all of this could have been avoided.

He claims that he was running the program for academic purposes. However, if he was doing it for this reason, why did he not inform the people who would be the most interested to learn of his results? The whole objective of HACKS is to learn more about computing and networking. I would have gladly given permission for this project (dependent on Eric Huber's non-objection) so our members could learn more about network security. However, Mr. Jeh never gave us the chance. He just went off on his own to run this program.

Mr. Jeh also claimed that he was trying to show the security holes in the X-window protocol to another system administrator here on campus. However, a sniffer can only detect packets on the subnetwork it is being run on. By running the program on a HACKS machine, Mr. Jeh limited the information he could gather to communications from our account holders to our machines. If he really was trying to show this other administrator the hole, why wasn't he running the program on that person's machine? Instead he ran it on our systems and violated security and policies.

This whole situation was precipitated by Mr. Jeh's refusal to obey the rules he had agreed to. By running the sniffer on his own he eliminated any controls we could have placed on this project to assure that nothing improper was done. Because of this, it was mutually decided by the Neuromancer administrators (myself, Mike Long and John Forrister), Eric Huber the X-terminal site administrator, Mark Westergaard of CCIT User Support, and several administrators from machines where Mr. Jeh had accounts that this case should be brought before the Dean of Students for action. Mr. Westergaard even co-signed the letter. Since the complaint has been filed it has been discovered that Mr. Jeh has left the UA. However, I still believe that an official reprimand for this unethical behavior should be placed in Mr. Jeh's permanent record.

Brendan B. Johnson

President, Hardware And Computing Knowledge Society

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