$84M NetAlert Filter Cracked in 30 Minutes

$84M NetAlert Filter Cracked in 30 Minutes

By Greg McNevin

August 27, 2007: The federal government’s $84 million NetAlert has been cracked during its first week of release by a Melbourne teenager, and done so in just over 30 minutes.

Tom Wood, a student at a private school in Melbourne, managed to circumvent the filter with minimal effort, and claims that any computer-savvy child could do the same.

"It's a horrible waste of money," Wood told News Ltd. newspapers. "They could get a much better filter for a few million dollars made here rather than paying overseas companies for an ineffective one."

Wood claims that his method does not involve removing the filter, and worse its icons remain active giving the filter the appearance of being engaged when it is in fact disabled.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan said that the government was expecting ways to be found around the filter and that the issue is already under investigation.

In the meantime the government has added another piece of filtration software to its website as a stopgap measure, however, the new filter (made by an Australian firm and named Integard) was also bypassed by Wood in around 40 minutes.

While the government may have expected the system to be bypassed at some point, the fact that a workaround was found in under an hour will no doubt be cause for concern for many parents. It also highlights the many problems associated with filtration software. Be it server side or PC side, where the is a will there is more often than not a way.

Comment on this story

Business Solution: