By Michael E. Rentell, Peter M. Jenner

ISBN-10: 1483106071

ISBN-13: 9781483106076

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If the printed source code had been stolen there would have been no problem. The case is doubly interesting because it involved an apparently innocent party - a supervisor at a user's location who was instructed over the telephone to carry out certain actions on her computer by the engineer responsible. These instructions, which she did not understand, apparently opened a 'trap-door' in the program which allowed it to be copied. The software owners stood to lose a large sum of money invested in developing and marketing it.

COM which indicates that it is not a true program but a DCL, a file of control commands used for machine scheduling. After displaying its disconcerting message, it alters the system messages to indicate that all disk files have been deleted - but they haven't. It then modifies the privileges of the system supervisor so that no electronic mail messages, which could contain warnings about it, can be generated. It then searches for user records without passwords and for passwords which are the same as the corresponding userids and sends the information back to the mysterious originator thus effectively creating 'trapdoors' for later exploitation.

Where software developers or magazine publishers offer trial disks of their wares they must ensure their absolute integrity. In this case the publishers took the proper action immediately. In other cases one can envisage victims rushing to law in order to claim substantial damages. A young man in Fulton County, Atlanta, Georgia has filed a damages suit against two computer equipment suppliers after terminal equipment blew up in his face causing concussion and multiple scarring. He was working at his terminal when the screen went suddenly blank.

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Breakdowns in Computer Security. Commentary and Analysis by Michael E. Rentell, Peter M. Jenner


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