Oxford student "hackers" suspended

Dons unimpressed by student reporters' investigation…

Dons unimpressed by student reporters' investigation…

Two Oxford students have been suspended after hacking into the university's IT systems in an attempt to expose security weaknesses for an article in the student newspaper.

Patrick Foster and Roger Waite used free software downloaded using Google to access a database of university students' email passwords and other personal details, spy on MSN Messenger conversations and look at some of the CCTV network.

The security holes were exposed in an article they wrote for the Oxford Student newspaper but university authorities were less than impressed and called in Thames Valley police.

The university's own IT staff were also unimpressed by the students' investigation and contacted silicon.com claiming they didn't actually manage to hack into anything.

The police declined to get involved, saying it was an internal disciplinary matter for the university. At the Court of Summary Jurisdiction hearing last week, reports said, Foster and Waite pleaded guilty to charges against them but argued they had acted in the public interest to improve security at the university.

The pair escaped fines but Foster has been suspended until next May and Waite has been suspended until January. They have until 9 November to lodge an appeal.