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01/23/2013

Student expelled after hacking into school system lands IT security job

A Montreal Dawson College student who was booted from class after he found a bug in the school's web portal has received a job offer from the very company that made the vulnerable software.

The school accused Hamad Al-Khabaz of launching a cyber attack after he found a vulnerability that could expose the personal information of students, such as their grades, student IDs and social insurance numbers.

Being a good student, the 20-year-old told the school about the glitch. Then, he found other problems and was eventually expelled back on Nov. 14.

Now, reports say the expelled student has been offered a job doing what he did best while in school – exposing security holes in software.

Skytech Communications, which built the school software that was cracked open wider than over a breakfast, offered Al-Khabaz a job.

In a statement posted to their website, Skytech says they want to let the student work “in the subject area he loves.”

That's all great and sounds like good PR, but Al-Khabaz told Canada AM that he still hasn't actually heard about the job offer himself.

But if you're trying to make software more secure, who better to do it than the kid who hacked it. And then hacked it again to find even more weakenesses. 

Software security companies often hire reformed hackers who know how to look for vulnerabilities, just as companies that build safes hire thieves to test the their hardware. 

Should the student be given a job in IT security? And should his school allow him to return?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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