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CTO Says Al-Khabaz Expulsion Shows CS Departments Stuck In "Pre-Internet Era" 248

An anonymous reader writes "The Security Ledger writes that the expulsion of Ahmed Al-Khabaz, a 20-year-old computer sciences major at Dawson College in Montreal, has exposed a yawning culture gap between academic computer science programs and the contemporary marketplace for software engineering talent. In an opinion piece in the Montreal Gazette on Tuesday, Dawson computer science professor Alex Simonelis said his department forbids hacking as an 'extreme example' of 'behavior that is unacceptable in a computing professional.' And, in a news conference on Tuesday, Dawson's administration stuck to that line, saying that Al-Khabaz's actions show he is 'no longer suited for the profession.' In the meantime, Al-Khabaz has received more than one job offer from technology firms, including Skytech, the company that makes Omnivox. Chris Wysopal, the CTO of Veracode, said that the incident shows that 'most computer science departments are still living in the pre-Internet era when it comes to computer security.' 'Computer Science is taught in this idealized world separate from reality. They're not dealing with the reality that software has to run in a hostile environment,' he said. 'Teaching students how to write applications without taking into account the hostile environment of the Internet is like teaching architects how to make buildings without taking into account environmental conditions like earthquakes, wind and rain,' Wysopal said."
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CTO Says Al-Khabaz Expulsion Shows CS Departments Stuck In "Pre-Internet Era"

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  • by fluffy99 ( 870997 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:05PM (#42676117)

    They don't wanna teach people how to find these problems, because it'll embarass the crap out of The Powers That Be.

    Don't blame professors for this. Look higher

    Your explanation sounds a bit too tin-foil-hat. The reality is that the market just wants keyboard jockeys who can code a working product quickly and cheaply. The security (and I'd also say quality) of the product is way down on the priority list of most employers. If you want to fix that, you need to figure out how to demand high-quality software. Not the buggy, security-flawed crap we see from major companies like Adobe, Java and Microsoft.

    But I do agree most of the graduating "Computer Engineers" I've interviewed barely knew how to code and had a few canned routines like bubble-sorting memorized. The ones claiming to be Microsoft certified were even more embarrassing.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:54PM (#42676913)

    Students learn much more from professors who have backbones than those from the family of invertebrates.

    Yes, it's totally reasonable to expect someone who has spent close to six figures earning their degrees and certifications, and finally managed to earn tenure, risk it all to satisfy your idea of morality. Dude, that's bullshit. It's bullshit on an epic why-the-hell-did-even-two-other-people-agree-with-you scale.

    College professors do have integrity. Well, many of them anyway. It's mean-spirited and flat-out wrong to accuse people who are responsible for ensuring that the next generation is trained at least well enough to know which way to hold the mouse before sending them out into the world... that they lack integrity simply because they don't want to be jailed and have their lives ruined to uphold an arbitrary moral value that I suspect even you yourself only sometimes adhere to.

    Don't blame the victim! Put the responsibility on the asshats that created the problem: The government. Oh wait, they're the giant 3000 ton gorilla! Probably easier then to go after the wimpy guy with glasses next to it, huh? That's exactly what you've just done, while demanding others have a backbone. Pathetic.

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.