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Security

College Student Got 15 Million Miles By Hacking United Airlines (fortune.com) 79

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: University of Georgia Tech student Ryan Pickren used to get in trouble for hacking websites -- in 2015, he hacked his college's master calendar and almost spent 15 years in prison. But now he's being rewarded for his skills. Pickren participated in United Airlines' Bug Bounty Program and earned 15 million United miles. At two cents a mile, that's about $300,000 worth. United's white hat hacking program invites computer experts to legally hack their systems, paying up to one million United miles to hackers who can reveal security flaws. At that rate, we can presume Pickren reported as many as 15 severe bugs. The only drawback to all those free miles? Taxes. Having earned $300,000 of taxable income from the Bug Bounty Program, Pickren could owe the Internal Revenue Service tens of thousands of dollars. He's not keeping all of the, though: Pickren donated five million miles to Georgia Tech. The ultimate thank-you for not pressing charges last year. In May, certified ethical hackers at Offensi.com identified a bug allowing remote code execution on one of United Airlines' sites and were rewarded with 1,000,000 Mileage Plus air miles. Instead of accepting the award themselves, they decided to distribute their air miles among three charities.

Comment Re:Suggested replacement videos? (Score 1) 376

I am very much in a similar situation and have made the same decision re: use of his videos in my course. That said, though, his lecture videos were fantastic in a flipped classroom context. I haven't found a single source that covers the same material at a similar level. It's possible to piece together an entire course by offerings on YouTube a module at a time, but it's an extremely long process. Sadly, the signal to noise level wrt introductory physics is extremely low.

Comment Re:Another reason to reduce animal agriculture (Score 1) 113

of Beef, Chicken,Pork,Turkey,Moose (best tasting meat in the world),Caribou,Grizzly,Black,Brown bears, Mt. Goat,Elk,Deer,Antelope,Salmon,

<MontyPythonQuote>
And the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths, and carp and anchovies, and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit-bats and large chu...
</MontyPythonQuote>

Sorry, a long day...

Comment Re:Their Goals (Score 1) 411

And if nobody ever paid for anything and every Tom Dick and Harry could take your ideas and use them for his own profit without compensating you that would solve all the world's problems?

Uhh... how exactly would Tom, Dick or Harry be making a profit using your ideas if nobody paid for anything? Not trying to be snarky, but isn't this something of a circular rationalization for the existence of IP laws?

Comment Re:You underestimate the value (Score 1) 913

I think it's safe to say that “being forced to memorize information which you'll most likely never use (and probably forget” would be viewed by most people as a waste of time.

I was really asking where did the idea that education was about “memorizing random information” come from. It seems like it's a cynical attitude to learning that runs counter to purpose of education-beyond-training (which is, after all, what the teaching side of universities were all about).

I'm not trying to be confrontational -- I'm genuinely curious. Both B.Sc. and B.A. have breadth requirements, partly to encourage inquiry outside of the student's chosen discipline. If you strip those away, you're no longer talking about a university education but a trade-school-style training. Now, there's nothing at all wrong with training, as opposed to education. But why try and turn one into the other?

Comment Re:You underestimate the value (Score 1) 913

There's basically nothing that I've encountered in a gen ed class that I didn't already know either from learning on my own time or from high school.

It's a shame, then, that you selected those particular Gen. Ed. courses. Were the course outlines unavailable when you registered?

Some people just don't seem to have the desire to learn things about the world on their own and have to have it spoon fed to them.

And some people don't seem to have a desire to take courses that might require some learning, but would rather get “easy grades” by taking courses in which they are already competent with the curriculum.

Not only do I not feel like I'm learning anything from them, they actually actively discourage me from wanting to participate in school, because it's depressing to me to do things that are not challenging or interesting.

Then, if presented with the opportunity in the future, elect to take a challenging and interesting set of gen-ed electives. Or are you claiming that you have nothing to learn? As to the general discussion, this seems to be a mismatch between the expectations of training and education.

Comment Re:Obligatory Clarification (Score 1) 427

Citation, please?

take your pick

Nice try. But I think you may want to look up the meaning of the word “rooting”.

My objection isn't that this not-so-clever piece of malware can be installed, with user's privileges, in the user's own directory. That much is clear. Moreover I'm not saying this is harmless, either.

But you've made a claim of “silent rooting”, in your words “a complete p0wn of the most serious kind”. Can you point to any reference saying that there's any sort of privilege escalation here? Or are you conflating user-level executable privileges with rooting?

Comment Re:Obligatory Clarification (Score 1) 427

It was also released in a variant that rooted the machine without needing to ask the user for the password.

Citation, please? The variants that I'm aware of were a) Install in the Applications folder, requiring Adminstrator credentials and b) Not needing a password by installing in the user's folder. In neither case was there any “silent rooting”.

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