The Case of Randal Schwartz

By Deane Barker on July 15, 2003

Brave New Web by Charles C. Mann: This article is admittedly seven years old, but it details what happened to Randal Schwartz, Perl Legend, and author of thee books on Perl. He was contracted as a sysadmin for Intel at the time:

“Hearing of a security incident at another computer system, Schwartz wondered whether Intel’s networks were as safe as the campus, a reasonable worry given that they contained everything worth stealing. On his own, he spent 15 minutes setting up the latest version of Crack, a program that checks users’ passwords to see if they can be easily guessed. Six days later, Crack had found 48 weak passwords, one of which belonged to an Intel vice president whose psychologically revealing choice was ‘pre$ident’.”

Intel was not amused, and they called the feds. Schwartz was convicted in 1995. He appealed and the conviction was sent back to a lower court in 2001. Schwartz refers to it on his Web site as “The biggest news in my life at the moment.”

“Sadly, a lot of my time and energy is taken up by the black hole of a very silly (but very real and serious) criminal conviction regarding activities while I was on the job working as a contractor at Intel Corporation. I believe the implications of this landmark case are very scary for the industry at large. You’ll probably agree once you know the details.”



  1. Whoops, sorry.

    This problem reveals a bad situation with my URLs — changing the title changes the URL. Mind you, the old page will still be there, but it won’t be updated…ugh.

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