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One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

OLPC: "Hack Me!"

What do you get when you install millions of mesh-connected computers in markets that are largely under-developed and unprotected? The potential for big-time security problems. Attending the recent TOORCON security conference, OLPC's Ivan Kristi said the project "will create the largest monoculture in history," and invited hackers-- hopefully of the white hat persuasion-- to bang on OLPC's 2B1.

The idea is to get pummeled prior to widespread release, ostensibly so you can patch the holes uncovered in a pre-release assault.

The potential for misuse and abuse is very real, given the 2B1's mesh-connected configuration, which would allow individual units to share applications and OS code ... or malware, if it finds its' way onto a machine.

With orders pending from Nigeria, Brazil, and Southeast Asia, OLPC is naturally and justifiably concerned that the bad guys may be tripping over themselves to exploit the open nature of the 2B1 system. As if we didn't have enough 419 scams from Nigeria already!

Preventive pre-release security tests: definitely Something Cool.

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