(photo credit: RASHI FOUNDATION)
A major bug in the operating system of Oxford’s electronic dictionary was squashed after Nathan Bletel, a 15-year-old 10th grade student, found the security breach. The bug could have allowed cheating in the matriculation exam in English.
Bletel got his technological savvy from Magshmim, a national cyber education program operated by the Rashi Foundation’s Cyber Education Center.
Using those skills, Bletel noticed that his pocket dictionary’s update file was non-encrypted, meaning he could change words and links, and upload anything he wanted into the dictionary’s system.
“I knew that this security breach will enable students to upload summaries and cheat on the matriculation exams,” Bletel said in a press release. “It could also harm Oxford financially.”
So he contacted the company, and they quickly developed a new version of the program which incorporated some of Bletel’s suggestions. When he went back to check, he discovered that it now couldn’t be used to cheat.
Bletel was invited to meet the CEO and senior programmer of Oxford as well, and received NIS 1,000 as a reward.
Sagi Bar, the director of the Rashi Foundation’s Cyber Education Center, was very proud of Bletel.
“We are very proud of Nathan, who demonstrates technological excellence as well as cyber ethics, two basic values that Maghimim instills in its students,” Bar said.
For Bletel, it was simply exciting to apply what he had learned on an ethical matter.
“In the program there is a lot of emphasis on ethical issues and on our obligation to use the technological tools it gives us for good causes,” Blethel said. “It’s great to see how our knowledge is applied in the real world – I can’t wait for the next opportunity.”