Australian teen accepts police caution to avoid hacking charge

Joshua Rogers' case illustrates the fine legal line computer security researchers tread

By , IDG News Service |  Legal

An Australian teenager has accepted a caution from police rather than face charges for discovering a vulnerability in the website of one of the country's public transport authorities late last year.Joshua Rogers of Melbourne accepted the caution, he told IDG News Service via email on Monday. He will not face charges, and the caution -- an acknowledgement that he broke the law -- will be expunged from his record in five years if he does not commit the same offense in that period.Rogers' case illustrates the fine line that computer security researchers tread when hunting for software vulnerabilities on public websites.Large technology companies such as Google and Facebook encourage security researchers to probe their sites and pay rewards for supplying security information. The rewards are paid on the condition that researchers do not share the information publicly until the problem has been fixed.But without that kind of blessing, activities that may be research could easily be considered malicious and violate computer crime laws.

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