Provost impostor unleashes anarchy with message sent to all UCL students
UCL’s email system was brought it its knees after a hacker pretending to be Provost Michael Arthur sent all 26,000 students the same message.
The original message simply says ‘bello!’ and was sent from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com at 10:47pm Wednesday evening.
Thousands of spam messages and abusive emails were circulating soon after, with student accounts being signed up to porn sites, religious dating agencies and extremist political parties, including the BNP and Nazi forum Stormfront.
In extraordinary scenes last night, #bellogate became Twitter’s number one UK trend. It remains at number two having inspired parody Twitter accounts @belloofficial and @UCLbello.
It is unknown if Provost Michael Arthur has been notified but so far there have been almost 3,000 emails exchanged.
The online storm may have serious ramifications on campus as students now have access to every student’s UCL email address.
Hundreds of students are speculating that UCL’s email server and every existing address will have to be scrapped.
The Provost’s email account appears to have already been deleted.
There are also now there are calls for the head of UCL’s Internet Services Division to resign.
The union’s Democracy and Communications Officer told Tab: ‘It’s gonna be a significantly bello average day for my counterparts at UCL Comms.”
The ISD closed the email list on Thursday morning.
Mike Cope, the head of Info Services said: “I am sorry to inform you that overnight, multiple emails (perhaps up to 1,000) have been received by students on an all-student email list.
“Some of these purport to come from the UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur via the previous Provost’s e-mail address, provost(at)ucl.ac.uk.”
“However, unfortunately, the problem was compounded because replies were posted to the list, and the email address was used to subscribe to various sites.
“UCL ISD are investigating this problem as a matter of urgency.”