Re: a holiday gift from Robert Morris


Jim Matthews (dartvax!eleazar.dartmouth.edu!matthews@bu-cs.bu.edu)
8 Nov 88 15:09:21 GMT


In article <In article <1445@anasaz.UUCP> In article <1445@anasaz.UUCP> john@anasaz.UUCP (John Moore) writes:
>
>According to press reports, RM spent his summers working at AT&T
>on "Unix Communications Software Security". Anyone with a source
>license check to see if he slipped a trojan horse into uucico
>or uuxqt or something?
>--

As a matter of fact, one of the things Robert did at Bell Labs (while
still a high school student, I believe) was fix some of the glaring
security holes in uucp (AT&T Bell Laboratories Technical Journal,
10/84).

It is very easy in the aftermath of something like this to indulge in
the devil theory of crime -- that all bad things must come from evil
minds. The more you find out about rtm I believe the more you will find
he has in common with the people criticizing his behavior. He has done
significant work in computer security, including warning people for
years about the security holes that made the worm possible. He has
worked as a sysadmin for an arpanet host. He is a serious student of
computer science and was making contributions to the field at an age
when most of us were trying to learn Pascal. He's also one hell of a
great guy, and no one seems more appalled by the effects of his actions
than he is.

We can argue about the advisability of what he did, but I urge you to
resist the temptation to pigeon-hole someone you don't know on the basis
of fragmentary information.

Jim Matthews
Dartmouth Software Development



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