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June 09, 1979 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-06-09

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, June 9, 1979-Page 7

iting a new policy program

, '" r

Daily Photo By JIM KRUZ
Cal at the North University Building Station
n their computer programs. Located near the
4s, NUBS was established in April 1971.

A computer engineering student, who
wished to remain unidentified, said
there is "a fair amount" of stealing
ID's. "I have a friend who had 12 ac-
counts stolen last year," he said.
Computer users are advised to
change their passwords often and keep
them secret, so hopeful "thieves" can't
find them. Nevertheless, no matter how
careful a user is, no one is entirely
protected from being robbed of com-
puter funds. Occasionally a "clever"
person will discover a "bug" in MTS
that allows him to gain access to
someone's password or private files.
While some computer whizzes
deliverately try to beat the system or
"crash" MTS, no one knows the extent
of this activity. Apparently there is a lot
more talk than action by those who
claim to have the skill to manipulate
the computer for the sake of fun or their
own gain.
A student explained how a friend
wrote a loop (continuously repeating)
program that kept asking the computer
for more space until all the files were
full and no one could use the computer
until it was fixed.
Emory said security breaks are very
rare, and stressed "the systems are
Volz agreed, saying it is "moderately
difficult" to beat MTS. "Once ina while
someone does cause the system to
crash," he said.
"MTS is hard to crash," explained an
upper level student. "You have to know
quite a bit (about the system.)" He
suggested "using students' cleverness
to make the system more secure."
This idea was tested on a limited
basis during spring term 1978 when
students in CCS 673 were asked to
assess the security of the MTS system
as a class project. According to Bob
Blue, a counselor at NUBS, the class
found three or four flaws which resulted
in subsequent modification of the
"(The class) had limited effec-
tiveness because students find bugs
they don't tell anyone about," said
another computer engineering student.
A computer engineering major said
he was "proud" of himself for
discovering how to gain access to a
solution to a program assigned for one
of his classes.
Because this type of cleverness in-
dicates advanced skill, faculty mem-
bers sometimes encourage it, accor-
ding to Parker. Attacks on the system
have been encouraged "under the guise
that it is educational and helpful to
discover holes that can then be
plugged," he said.
"General encouragement of this type
of thing (trying to crash a computer
system) results in the breakdown of
ethical values," said Parker. His main
concern is that when students graduate
and enter the "real world" they are not
sure what is appropriate use of .the
Computer students and a teaching
assistant said "inventiveness" is en-
couraged to some extent at the Univer-
sity. "There is a lot of internal en-
couragement," said one student. "Ob-
viously the administration does not
support it."
Although official disciplinary policy
action for computer misuse requires
that a student follow the normal chan-
nels for grievance procedures in his
school or college, often instructors will
take the incident more lightly. They
may simply tell the student not to do it
again or to be more careful next time.
However, most computer abusers, .

whether or not their intent is malicious,
are not disciplined because they can't'
be caught. CCS department chairman
Prof. Larry Flanigan noted what he
called a "random eatch factor" in ap-
prehending computer abusers. "There
is not a good monitoring system
available," he said. "There is no way to
look over someone's shoulder and tell if
it is a legitimate use."
Questions about ethics and policy in
the use of computers have prompted
concern at a national level over the lack
'It's time to look into
policy issues on cam-
pus ... I'm not con-
scious of any major
problem here. (The
subcommittee) will set
some guidelines in ad-
vance of major
-Prof Gordon
chairman ofrsubcnmmittee
cusesing computer use and
ethics on campus.
of legislation dealing specifically with
Computer abuse is a relatively new
problem that is not specifically dealt
with in most current state and federal
laws, despite its far-reaching im-
plications in society. Legislatures are
beginning to realize that the wording of
many state and federal laws must be
revised to include policy on computer
A bill making fraudulent use of a
computer a federal felony punishable
by up to 15 years and a $5,000 fine
currently is being revised in the U.S.
Senate Judiciary subcommittee. This
legislation, proposed by Sen. Abraham
Ribicoff, (D-Conn.), is the first federal
bill to cover many aspects of computer
If the bill is passed, persons in-
troducing fraudulent data into a
system, using computer facilities
without authorization, changing or
destroying data, or stealing money,
services, property, or data can be

Although the Ribicoff bi
applies to the governmen
companies which condu
commerce, Parker said h
stimulate written noli

collegiate level. "It could change the
value structure in the computer field,"
especially in universities, he said.
Only two states now have legislation
explicitly defining computer crimes,
but about 15 state legislatures are con-
sidering computer-related bills.
In Michigan, the Senate Commerce

Committee is considering a bill
prohibiting a person from gaining ac-
cess to a computer or computer system
for fraudulent purposes. Intentional
damage to computer hardware is
prohibited. Violations will be
punishable by imprisonment up to ten
years or a $5,000 maximum fine.
A proposed amendment to the bill
makes cases involving $100 or less a
misdemeanor, according to Greg
Mann, an aide to Rep. Michael Bennane
(D-Detroit), who introduced the bill.
-The bill, which passed the House last
month, also was introduced by Rep.
Perry Bullard, (D-Ann Arbor). While
a student at the University, Mann said,
he used to play "football" on the com-
puters with his friends, even though he
didn't have an account himself. "I think
it (game-playing at the University) is
widespread," he said. He added that he
doesn't think people should be
prosecuted at the Univerity or similar
level for minor cases, even though it is
See DEBUGGING, Page 10

411 specifically
it and private
ct interstate
e hopes it will
cies at the


The Ann Arbar Film Cooperuffve presents ot MLB
(Terence Young,1968) 7 only-MLB3
"The story of a blind woman cajoled and then terrorized by three criminals who
want the heroin that is hidden inside her apartment, in the belly of a doll that
her husband unwittingly picked up on an airplane from a lady smuggler who
had to get rid of the goods before her accomplice discovered she had double
crossed him ... but that's not half of it ... The Climax of the film is directed
by Young with fine Hitchcockian intensity."-FILM QUARTERLY. Excellent
performance by ALAN ARKIN and AUDREY HEPBURN.
(Herbert Ross, 1976) 9 only-MLB 3
NICOLE WILLIAMSON is Sherlock Holmes, ROBERT DUVALL is Dr. Watson and
ALAN ARKIN is Sigmund Freud in this hilarious mystery spoof. They join forces
to solve the baffling disappearance of a popular French actress (VANESSA
REDGRAVE) and Freud ends up delving into Holmes' dreams, drug addiction,
and obsessive hatred of Professor Moriority. "100% entertainment."-Gene
Shalit. Tuesday: Free showing of .I JOUR SE LEVE and THE COUSINS


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