Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


osprey has been hacked

Posted by Anonymous User 
Announcements Last Post
Announcement SoC Curricula 09/30/2017 01:08PM
Announcement Demarcation or scoping of examinations and assessment 02/13/2017 07:59AM
Announcement School of Computing Short Learning Programmes 11/24/2014 08:37AM
Announcement Unisa contact information 07/28/2011 01:28PM
Anonymous User
osprey has been hacked
October 13, 2006 02:08PM

hey all boy did I lol

Ok maybe it is not THAT funny.

I was on a different pc than usual and forgot the forum url so I tried


and lo and behold it seems some Turkish hacker has been there before!

Go check it out and see for yourself.

Re: osprey has been hacked
October 13, 2006 09:26PM
LOL, OMG that is so classic!!!!! Somebody must've left the keys in the door tongue sticking out smiley Noticed its not the home page that's hacked but rather osprey.unisa.ac.za/forum but we in fact access osprey.unisa.ac.za/phorum. This the admins should take a look at this other page to find the hole.
Anonymous User
Re: osprey has been hacked
October 14, 2006 08:52AM
avatar Re: osprey has been hacked
October 15, 2006 06:07PM
Malcolm know about this on 06/10/06:

Re: Suggestions for improvements to Osprey
Posted by: malcolm (---.saix.net) Grand Master Contributor
Date: October 6, 2006 08:24AM

Hi Mac, I seem to have discovered a bit of a vulnerability with the osprey site.

Is there a private email address I can contact you on to give you the exact details?
avatar Re: osprey has been hacked
October 15, 2006 08:14PM
Hmm no this has nothing to do with my one, if someone were to exploit my one the entire site could probably be defaced ;/

Anyway that reminds me I must mail him

"Knowledge has much better uses than self-pity and superiority"
Re: osprey has been hacked
October 15, 2006 09:49PM
Malcolm's vulnerability found was indeed a hole - but not the one the Turkish hacker entered. That was Linux side. We're not in bad company though, this guy has hacked major sites larger than us. We're upgrading the OS software on a new server end of the year, don't want to mess now with exams around.
Re: osprey has been hacked
October 19, 2006 04:30PM
LOL at the hacked URL!
Edit: Not hacked no more!
avatar Re: osprey has been hacked
October 23, 2006 09:05AM
Too bad I can't trade in osprey exploits for assignment credits tongue sticking out smiley (Don't have enough credits to write information security this year what an irony)
Anonymous User
Re: osprey has been hacked
October 26, 2006 01:08PM
how many credits do you have?
avatar Re: osprey has been hacked
October 26, 2006 01:38PM
Basically none (well 35) I missed assignment 2 and handed assignment 3 in late.
It looked like assignment 3 wasn't going to be marked so I didnt bother with 4 as I would have needed too high a percentage and was really short on time, In retrospect I should have done it as assignment 3 did get marked ;/
Anonymous User
Re: osprey has been hacked
October 27, 2006 09:29AM
oh no... well, there's always next year winking smiley FRom the sounds of things if you hand in all your assignments but don't get enough credits you can write exams
Re: osprey has been hacked
October 27, 2006 04:44PM
This is so true, Celene. And I'm glad it is, because I was also in the same predicament. Handing in assignments means that we've put in some effort into it.
Re: osprey has been hacked
November 19, 2006 02:47PM
The INF105-9/102 letter says that we should go to http://osprey.unisa.ac.za to download stuff, but I see this hacker's page instead! When will this be fixed? (Yes, I know everyone has already written their exams, but this is still worrying.)
Re: osprey has been hacked
November 19, 2006 06:43PM
Once again, Osprey's been hacked ...
Re: osprey has been hacked
November 20, 2006 05:12PM
Here's the truth. Osprey has been unhacked for the better part of 7 years. As a "computing-related" site it is probably more prone to hacking efforts than other Unisa servers - and why not? To hack a SOC-site is perhaps a chip on the shoulder....

So far, the hackers found a way to deface "some" index pages only - the rest of the site has not been compromised. But hacked is hacked.

Yes, Osprey is behind on security patches - I cannot comment on that since the SOC is not responsible for the patches. But then again, we're not sure if it is patch-related. If we knew exactly how they got in then hackers would not exist, and security experts will not be paid thousands per month to prevent hacking.

So, if one accepts that our site is particularly prone to attacks (and that some patches are released as a response to attacks) then perhaps we're somewhat exonerated. Like that helps us feel better....

We did not want to upgrade (it's not just patches I'm led to believe) in the exam period (for obvious reasons) which left Osprey open to further attacks. Some steps were taken, and it was successful for a month or two. But clearly another gap still exists. If you are an expert, then feel free to contact me. More so if you are the hacker angry smiley

We've ordered a new server which, when online, will hopefully stop these attacks.But there are no guarantees - can there ever be?

Other than that, perhaps Osprey should be retired since it is a research machine. Perhaps that is where the vulnerability lies,.....
avatar Re: osprey has been hacked
November 20, 2006 07:23PM
No, you can't say that Mac. I'm sure we can come up with more things for you to research. How about security against hackers grinning smiley
Re: osprey has been hacked
November 23, 2006 08:14PM
Well Robert, and I'm not in a defensive mode here (maybe the purpose is to relay some first-hand experience which may just benefit a first-year student about practicalities not found in a prescribed handbook of this or that module). My research efforts are aimed at developing Osprey code-side. Not to secure it - except code side. One potential loophole (assuming there are some gaps in the code - which is found regularly with even the best programming language in use) as an example is that Osprey cannot authenticate against the Unisa student db (against what does one authenticate without creating an additional administration monster?) If one could authenticate, then 'potential' gaps in the code will be hidden from hackers - except if hackers are students, of course. Malcolm found a gap (an IP-limiting area that proves IP limiting is not necessarily the answer for which I am the first to take responsibility for).

Point is, as a "research" machine, it probably does not have the same standing as a myUnisa server when it concerns absolute security (as in security updates and patches), since it does not link to univ db's with access to, for example, financial records. That needs to change, for sure.

But if it proves an uphill struggle (we're constantly arguing for Osprey to exist and Unisa is actually doing us a favour allowing us to experiment when myUnisa is the official system), then I'll be the first to pull the plug on Osprey. It's just not worth it in terms of "a research effort". Or trying to defend our efforts when attacks come from all sides and you're just one cog in a wheel over which you do not have control. The myUnisa team consist of say 12 people people who are working very hard at improving the interface. I can do my research equally effective myUnisa side.

Let's hope our new server and an upcoming meeting will sort this out. It will be good to hear from people who experience the same struggles.... much more worth than any handbook offers.
avatar Re: osprey has been hacked
November 24, 2006 07:40AM
Hey Mac,
Not to go in too much detail, but it would be a pity if a good system like osprey had to go away, because of some petty access problems. I don't know what systems UNISA is running but isn't it possible to create a view / table with just student information relevant to Osprey in it, (name, student number), or maybe export this info on a weekly basis, and give osprey access to a read only copy.
Even if "new" users had to wait a week for access, it's definitely worth the wait. (IMNSHO). I mean really, how much damage could someone do with a bunch of student names and student numbers? (If that was hacked) but then again if you had that info you could make osprey a lot more secure, couldn’t you?!?

Anyway: It would be a huge lose if osprey had to "disappear".thumbs down
Re: osprey has been hacked
November 24, 2006 08:00AM
We've been trying to get read access to the student db for years now. From what I'm led to believe is that there are rules at Unisa that dictate who and what can get access to the databases. Osprey seemingly does not fit into this as a research machine. Agree 100% with your assertion about what possible damage can be done if one has read access to a name and student number.... but stranger rules are in existence today.

A view as you suggests creates extra administrative functions for those that have access, as well as Osprey side wihich is intended to be an automated system, so that's not a route to go.

I'm putting my faith in the upcoming meeting - I wouldn't want Osprey to go either. Thanks for the support.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login