Iraqi-Canadian student expelled from school for ‘doing good’

Hamed al-Khabbaz, a second-year computer science student, was expelled from Dawson College for discovering a bug in its database. (Al Arabiya)

Last week, a Canadian student of an Iraqi origin was expelled from his college after discovering a “bug” in the school’s electronic database and logged into it “without permission.”

The 20-year-old Hamed al-Khabbaz, who is a second-year student in the computer science department at Dawson College, claimed that he had informed the school’s administration of a bug capable of exposing sensitive information pertaining to more than 250,000 students.

Al-Khabbaz told Al Arabiya that the company that built the system, Skytech, fixed the bug and was one of almost 30 companies which offered him a job because no one was able to discover the bug before. The other companies that offered him a job were in Boston, Brazil, and in different parts of Canada.

Al-Khabbaz, who only visited Iraq once three years ago, did a scan of the application site in the college’s database and linked it to his iPhone so he could log on to his information whenever he wanted. That’s how he discovered the bug.

After a month of informing the college, he checked again and found the bug wasn’t fixed. So he called Skytech and informed them of the problem. “Instead of thanking me, the college’s administration convened and decided to expel me. They thought that what I did was illegal.”

The college claimed that he “hacked” into the information system, refusing an appeal he made later.

The young student said he discovered the bug by coincidence and was concerned that it might have endangered his and other students’ information. He said that he would not have informed the college had he known that what he did was considered “hacking.”

He is currently looking for another school to continue his studies.

Last Update: Monday, 04 March 2013 KSA 09:02 - GMT 06:02