By Peter Bloch
Okay, she didn’t actually steal the password, she just asked us to write it down for her on our homework. I should also mention Lauren also changed the assignment once we figured out her scam.
In my most recent class of Computer Science II: Python Data Science, I wrote a program with the capacity to log into my email and send a message to someone. Pretty straightforward right?
Wrong! This computer program has a few moral issues. First of which is that my teachers, Lauren and Chad required our class to send passwords with our program. With this info, maybe she could re-route my college decision, steal my backup bank information, and pose as me for a day (digitally, that is). She could destroy all of my multi-million-dollar future identity. For this reason, I have encrypted my password so that when it runs, it’s not as obvious unless they manually decrypt it. Secondly, computers take everything you ask them very literally. If you ask them to complete an action, they’ll do their very best to do it.
So let’s say hypothetically I completed my homework assignment (to write a program to send a bot message to Lauren) in an efficient way. What if I were to tell my computer to loop that program under a constraint that’s always True–in other words, to loop it infinitely. By adding one line of code, I can infinitely spam somebody–well anybody–and render their email account unusable.
For the purposes of our class, consider Pandora’s box opened ‘varks, and be warned: Don’t pick a fight with a CS student. It won’t end well.