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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Oxford pair suspended for hacking
Oxford University
The students could be banned from university buildings
Two students from Oxford University have been suspended after hacking into the university's computer.

Patrick Foster and Roger Waite are to appeal against the decision by Oxford's Court of Summary Jurisdiction.

They wrote about their actions for the newspaper Oxford Student, saying they wanted to expose weakness in the university's IT system.

Patrick Foster, 20, who is now the editor of the newspaper, said the punishment was too harsh.

The university's court was made up of three judges who are fellows.

They suspended Patrick Foster from the university until the start of the summer term in May 2005, a practice known as rustication.

Roger Waite, 21, was suspended until January.

'Too harsh'

The judges said that what the pair had done had been an "attack on the university".

They had infiltrated the university's computer systems and said they were able to view live closed circuit material and access information about students' computer use.

They used a program which they said was easy to obtain from Google.

We were simply trying to expose the security failings in Oxford's IT network
Patrick Foster, suspende student
After the ruling, Patrick Foster said: "We will be appealing.

"We think the punishment is too harsh. We were simply trying to expose the security failings in Oxford's IT network."

The students have until 9 November to lodge their appeal before leaving the university.

At the hearing, Patrick Foster admitted all seven charges against him - two of using university facilities for unlawful activity, two of gaining unauthorised access, two of violating users' privacy and one charge of wasting staff time by engaging them in activity unrelated to study.

He is in the second year of a degree in politics, philosophy and economics.

Roger Waite, a second-year history student, pleaded guilty to four charges related to the CCTV network - conspiring to breach IT network, using facilities for an unlawful activity, gaining unauthorised access and wasting staff effort.

A spokeswoman for the university said: "We do not discuss details of individual cases.

"Any student found to have breached university regulations on computer use would face disciplinary action."

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