Thursday, March 1, 2007

One, but he gets 3 hours credit.

The official TAMU account of a hack into their authentication system.

The Eagle has the most entertaining coverage of Aggie Hack 07.

"We learn from our mistakes," said Pierce Cantrell, vice president and
associate provost for information technology. "These are complicated
systems, and there is a huge learning curve. It's a computer
cat-and-mouse game in this business, and I think we do a really good
job handling account security."

Provost Cantrell is a member of Tom & Jerry school of threat assessment.
It's all about cheese and butcher knives and tails in light sockets. You get some soot on your face after the mouse hands you dynamite, sure, but what can you do? Despite what Tom may say, Jerry is really doing a heckuva job.

From the trenches comes another approach:

[Executive director of computing and information services] Putnam said
he's unsure why anyone would want to break into the university computer
system, but hackers try to test their limits and see how far they can
get into a secure system.

"You can speculate, but that's all you can do," he said. "It's like why
do you climb a mountain? Because it's there."

Director Putnam is more of the Edmund Hilary school of threat assessment. It's so effing ineffable why these meddling kids would want to monkey with the authentication mechanism of Aggie U, you are just spinning your wheels looking into it. To paraphrase Nigel Tufnel, some mysteries are better left unsolved.

The appropriate aggie joke is left as an exercise for the reader.

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