UWS email systems hacked

Email servers at the University of Western Sydney have been hacked in the latest in show of dissent against the institution. 

A statement from the university’s media department today confirmed that distribution lists had been ‘‘breached’’.

‘‘UWS email distribution lists were breached over the weekend. The lists were shut down and a full investigation is underway,’’ the statement said.

‘‘The breach was limited to the email lists and other than an unfortunate amount of spam received, student and staff UWS IT accounts were not under any threat.’’

On Monday, a member of the UWS Student Representative Council contacted the Sun to report that email accounts had been hacked in protest against the university’s free iPad program.

‘‘This morning virtually all UWS staff and student emails were spammed,’’ the student said.

‘‘One student reported 400 emails, another staff member said close to 1000, regarding this person’s dissent over the iPad initiative.’’

Two of the spam emails were forwarded on to the Sun.

‘‘What has happened today is the result of pent up frustration at a university which spits in the face of students and staff with no recourse,’’ one message, attributed to ‘‘students of UWS’’ began.

The other spam email was attributed to ‘‘Anonymous’’, which may have been a reference to the ‘‘hactivist’’ group that regularly protests by hacking into the websites of organisations.

The UWS student council has warned its members on Facebook that replying to the emails can worsen the problem.

Replying to the spam emails could activate third-party sites that disseminate more spam emails to the university’s email accounts, the warning said.

The systems breach comes after student protests against course and staff cuts were held in November.

Last week, a small group of students used social media and comments on this website and others to voice their disapproval at the university for giving away 11,000 iPads to new students and staff this year.