01/22/2013 03:46 EST | Updated 03/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Dawson compares student's system security probe to break and enter

Officials at Montreal's Dawson College are comparing a student's security probing of an online academic portal to criminal activity, like breaking and entering.

At a news conference today, school officials went public with their decision to expel Hamed Al-Khabaz.

"In the light of what has happened, we feel justified to shed the light on what had really happened and what had motivated the college to take the decision to expel the student from our college," said the institution's general director, Richard Filion.

The 20-year-old student was expelled from Dawson after finding security flaws in an online academic web portal used across the province.

The school initially refused to comment on the story but decided to break its silence after receiving immense media attention over the last 48 hours.

The school admits to working with Al-Khabaz to test their security systems but said the student went beyond that.

Filion said Al-Khabaz repeatedly hacked into security systems that he wasn't supposed to tamper with.

"Hamed Al-Khabaz was not expelled because he found a flaw in the student information system… the college followed its regular processes for analyzing the situation and proceeding to sanctioning Mr. Al-Khabaz on the recommendation of the computer science department."

Despite appealing the school's decision twice, Al-Khabaz was expelled.

He said he alerted officials each time he breached Dawson's computer system so the school could improve the security parameters.

College officials deny these claims.

According to officials, expulsion was punishment enough because they decided not to report Al-Khabaz to police.

The student attended the news conference this afternoon and said he stands by what he was doing and maintains he was acting in good faith to protect students' personal information.

Since alerting the media, Al-Khabaz says he has received 10 job offers. One of the offers came from Skytech, the company behind the flawed software the student investigated.