MPAA University 'Toolkit' Raises Privacy Concerns

Posted by jhansonxi on Nov 25, 2007 3:05 PM EDT
The Washington Post; By Brian Krebs
Mail this story
Print this story

The Motion Picture of Association of America is urging some of the nation's largest universities to deploy custom software designed to pinpoint students who may be using the schools' networks to illegally download pirated movies. A closer look at the MPAA's software, however, raises some serious privacy and security concerns for both the entertainment industry and the schools that choose to deploy the technology.

Security Fix downloaded the University Toolkit and studied it, with the help of David Taylor, a senior information security specialist with the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. (Taylor's school was not among those that received the letter.)

What we found was that depending on how a university's network is set up, installing and using the MPAA tool in its default configuration could expose to the entire Internet all of the traffic flowing across the school's network.

First, an explanation of what the toolkit is and how it works. The University Toolkit is essentially an operating system (xubuntu) that you can boot up from a CD-ROM. The package bundles some powerful, open-source network monitoring tools, including "Snort," which captures detailed information about all traffic flowing across a network; as well as "ntop," a tool used to take data feeds from tools like Snort and display the data in more user-friendly graphics and charts.

Full Story

» Read more about: Story Type: News Story; Groups: Ubuntu, Xfce

« Return to the newswire homepage

This topic does not have any threads posted yet!

You cannot post until you login.