Oxford hackers face suspension

Two students who hacked into Oxford University's computer system to prove it was insecure are facing disciplinary action

Two Oxford University students are facing suspension and a fine after they hacked into the University computer system to show just how easy it was to access supposedly secure personal details.

The pair used free software that they downloaded and managed to access a database of university pupils' email passwords and other personal details, as well as spy on MSN Messenger conversations and look at some of the CCTV network. Gaining access to the system took only minutes, they said.

The two 20-year-old students undertook the hacking to expose security flaws in the internal network for the university newspaper, The Oxford Student. After proving the network was easy to crack, the newspaper printed their experiences.

The faculty weren't overly impressed with the students' endeavours, however, and questioned them about their actions before the university proctors before deciding to refer the matter on to Thames Valley police for investigation.

The Oxford staff will decide in September whether the students will be suspended for a year and fined £500 for their exploits. The university, however, hasn't said it will be updating its security procedures.