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George Mason University Hit by Spam Mail

According to news reports published by ComputerWorld published on November 4, 2008, a bogus e-mail was distributed to around 35,000 students, staff members and faculty at George Mason University in Virginia, US, announcing that the US presidential election was postponed until November 5, 2008.

The reports also indicate that the fake e-mail appears to come from an unidentified spammer who was able to invade the university server with the help of provost's credentials.

According to Press Secretary at George Mason University, Daniel Walsch, the fake e-mail was sent around 1 AM on November 3, 2008 and it generated a flood of calls from students and parents wanting to learn more about the issue. However, most of the people who called did not believe the hoax message, but desired to know the reason for sending the e-mail, as reported by ComputerWorld on November 4, 2008.

Moreover, the university officials have stated that they have turned the issue over to law enforcement agencies and the FBI for investigation.

Walsch said that the university server from where the hoax e-mail was sent out normally used to give alerts pertaining to issues like weather-related closures. And only a small number of people at the university has administrative privileges to access that server, he added.

Walsch also stated that the early-stage investigations indicated that whoever distributed the fraudulent e-mail didn't seem to have broken into the computer. Rather it seemed that the perpetrator used the provost credentials to enter the system and send out the bogus e-mail.

Moreover, as soon as the university officials became aware of the spam mail, they issued an alert e-mail to students and staff members saying that the e-mail reaching their inboxes was fake and that they should overlook it.

Mr. Walsch also said that authorities at the university are not aware of who was behind the scam, but if they are able find out the person(s), they will prosecute him or them to the fullness of the legal process, as Reported by SCMagazine on November 5, 2008.

Related article: Georgia Credit Union Name Used in phishing Scam

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