‘Bellogate’ engulfs UCL email system

University College London has apologised after its email system was hacked, leaving students with thousands of spam emails in their inboxes.

October 9, 2014

Bello! UCL provost Michael Arthur

Students were inundated with thousands of unwanted emails overnight after access was gained to a group mailing address for students.

As a result, students were registered to porn sites, One Direction’s fan group, the UK Independence Party’s mailing list and hundreds of other unwanted group listings and free subscriptions.

The original email received by students purported to be from the account of UCL’s provost Michael Arthur, with a one word message: “bello!”.

So-called “bellogate” has been trending on Twitter as students took to the internet to complain about their unwanted emails.

In a statement to students earlier this morning, Mike Cope, director of UCL’s information services division, said “multiple emails (perhaps up to 1,000) have been received by students on an all-student email list”.

He added that the “problem was compounded because replies were posted to the list, and the email address was used to subscribe to various sites”.

Mr Cope urged students “not to respond to the list”, adding that it was closed down as of 9.30am on 9 October. He also apologised for the inconvenience caused.

A tweet from UCL’s student union magazine The Cheese Grater expressed dismay at the incident. “UCL’s entire mailing list is in public domain now, 1000’s emails sent and signed up to stuff. Someone’s gonna be fired,” the tweet read.

jack.grove@tesglobal.com

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