Skip to Content
Uncategorized

From Stephen to Zithromax

A fascinating story in The Harvard Crimson details a rather shocking security lapse in which “the confidential drug purchase histories of many Harvard students and employees have been available for months to any internet user, as have the e-mail addresses…

A fascinating story in The Harvard Crimson details a rather shocking security lapse in which “the confidential drug purchase histories of many Harvard students and employees have been available for months to any internet user, as have the e-mail addresses of high-profile undergraduates whose contact information the University legally must conceal,” according to the magazine.

The problem seems to be that two Harvard websites designed for student use did not properly authenticate the students who were supposed to be using them.

One website, now disabled, is the iCommons Poll Tool. According to the Crimson, that website “required nothing more than a free, anonymous Hotmail account and five minutes to look up the eight-digit ID of any student, faculty or staff member.” With that number, anybody could then go to the website operated by Harvard’s insurer’s website, PharmaCare, type in the Harvard University ID and the student’s date of birth (obtainable from the student directory and from “sites such as anybirthday.com,” and get the full history of all drugs that the student had ordered

There is a related issue involving the listing of student directory information if when students request that this information not be made available, a violation of another federal law.

Hats off to the Crimson! They also broke a story similar to this roughly 10 years ago, when it was revealed that Usenet browsing history was being left on public-access terminals.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Large language models can do jaw-dropping things. But nobody knows exactly why.

And that's a problem. Figuring it out is one of the biggest scientific puzzles of our time and a crucial step towards controlling more powerful future models.

OpenAI teases an amazing new generative video model called Sora

The firm is sharing Sora with a small group of safety testers but the rest of us will have to wait to learn more.

The problem with plug-in hybrids? Their drivers.

Plug-in hybrids are often sold as a transition to EVs, but new data from Europe shows we’re still underestimating the emissions they produce.

Google DeepMind’s new generative model makes Super Mario–like games from scratch

Genie learns how to control games by watching hours and hours of video. It could help train next-gen robots too.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.