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Randal Schwartz speaks on security law in Dallas

Oct 04, 1998, 00:10 (0 Talkback[s])

Randal Schwartz is one of the most famous Perl hackers, has authored and co-authored several books about Perl, and is a leading instructor of the Perl language.

Yet, he wasn't in Dallas Sunday to talk about Perl. He traveled all these miles to talk about a more serious problem, a problem that could very well have the potential to affect any computer professional.

On Monday, November 1st, 1993 in Portland, Oregon, the police came to Randal's house with a search warrant. They confiscated most electronic devices in his home, read him his rights, and interviewed him for some length of time.

It turns out that Intel had turned him in for breaking into their computer systems.

Four months after the November 1st incident, Randal was officially indicted on three felony counts.

The activity in question was that he ran Crack on some of Intel's password files.

His mistakes prior to the arrest were: Not communicating his activities at work to his supervisor, checking Intel's password file for bad passwords, and not reporting the bad passwords to the appropriate personnel immediately.

Five years, and $250,000 later, he is a convicted felon.

When asked if Randal is going to counter-sue, in attempts to make appropriate changes to Oregon's state laws regarding this matter, his reponse is that, "That's not my place in this world... My work's telling you about this, and if you make choices based on what I've said, my work is done."

His webpage covers in very full detail the entire case, from start to present.