In March, for example, 119 applicants to Harvard Business School hacked their way into the school's admissions system to find out if they had been accepted before the official announcements were made.

Robert Wright, Contributor

August 11, 2005

1 Min Read

A number of prestigious colleges and universities across the country have discovered they are being hacked at an alarming rate. But the reasons behind the security breaches at the likes of Harvard and Stanford aren't the usual kinds of motives we've seen by cybercriminals and identity thieves. In fact, the hackers in these cases could be described as overanxious and even enterprising students.

In March, for example, 119 applicants to Harvard Business School hacked their way into the school's admissions system to find out if they had been accepted before the official announcements were made. That had happened to other colleges recently, but Harvard was reportedly the first to act with a zero-tolerance policy: All of the hacker applicants were rejected by the admissions office for their actions. Debates soon raged across the campus about whether the penalty was too severe for what many considered to be a crime of curiosity.

Then, just recently, Stanford dropped 41 applicants to its Graduate School of Business who had tried to access an admissions Web site to find out if they had been admitted. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology also rejected 32 applicants in a similar case, and several more colleges and universities have reported admissions-related hackings. Why so many admissions-systems hacks this spring? According to various news reports, earlier this year a hacker posted instructions on a Web site's forum on how to break into the software systems of various schools.

But as the saying goes, curiosity killed the hack.

About the Author(s)

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like


More Insights